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Full text of "Old Concord"

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CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




FROM 




3 1924 102 331_J66 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://archive.org/details/cu31924102331166 



Old Concord 







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4,^ vy ; - w^-v, 







At Meriam's Corner 



Old Concord 

By 
Allen French 



With Drawings by 
Lester G. Hornby 



n on -refer ? 




SWVAP-CI3S 



Boston 
Little, Brown, and Company 

Re. 



■&E. 






Copyright, igij, 
By Little, Brown, and Company. 



All rights reserved 
Published, October, 1915 



NOtfoOOtl J3TC8S 

Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 

Printed by 
Louis £. Crosscuf, Boston, U. S. A. 



.1.1 i!'iiii):i ^Vr- 

Y.flMlUU *-V« v 




Preface 



THIS book, while primarily designed to present 
the points of chief interest in the historical and 
literary associations of Old Concord, may also be 
depended upon for its accuracy. Its historical mat- 
ter I have drawn from the Concord histories of 
Lemuel Shattuck (1835) and Charles H. Walcott 
(1884), from the Concord Social Circle Memoirs, 
from the writings of Grindall Reynolds, and from 
the publications of the Concord Antiquarian Soci- 
ety, chiefly those by the late George Tolman. For 
facts concerning Concord's literary notables I have 
drawn principally upon their own writings. The 

[vii] 



Preface 

book also contains material from Concord tradition 
and family knowledge, not to be found in print. 
For help in verifying my statements, and for supply- 
ing me with much matter previously unknown to me, 
I am much indebted to my neighbors Dr. Edward 
Waldo Emerson, Judge Prescott Keyes, and Mr. 
Adams Tolman. I am also greatly obliged for the 
courteous help of the librarians of the Concord Free 
Public Library, and I desire to express my thanks for 
permission to quote directly from the publications 
of the Concord Social Circle, Houghton Mifflin 
Company, and Charles Scribner's Sons. 

ALLEN FRENCH. 
Concord, Massachusetts. 
June, 1915. 



[ viii ] 




Contents 



Chapter 


Page 


Preface ...••• 


vii 


I. Retrospective .... 


I 


II. Military Affairs 


• 35 


III. Chiefly Literary 


• 77 


IV. The Burying Grounds 


• 157 


Envoi 


• 177 


Index 


. 181 



[ix] 




Illustrations 



The Three Arch Stone Bridge Half-title 

At Meriam's Corner Frontispiece 

Page 

The Old Mill Building, on the Milldam . . . . vii 
Ephraim W. Bull's "Grapevine Cottage." Home of the 

Concord Grape . . . - . . . . . ix 

The little Shops of the Milldam from the Square . . xi 

The Antiquarian Society's House ..... i 

The Unitarian Church ....... 7 

The Old Tree at the Town Hall 17 

The Old Colonial Inn. Deacon White's Corner . . 23 

Across the Meadows . . . . . . 35 

The Wright Tavern 47 

The Old Elisha Jones House. The House with the Bullet 

Hole 57 

The Monument of 1836, and across the Bridge the "Min- 
ute Man" 69 

[xi] 



Illustrations 



R. 



Graves of British Soldiers 

The Emerson House 

The Old Chapter House of the D. A 

The Thoreau-Alcott House 

The Old Manse 

The Hemlocks .... 

In Emerson's Study 

The Alcott "Cottage" (i 840-1 842) on Main Street 

Orchard House, Home of the Alcotts 

Hawthorne's "Wayside" . 

Academy Lane .... 

Thoreau's Cairn at Walden 

The Sanborn House from the River 

In the Old Hill Burying-ground 

Hawthorne's Grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery 

The Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery 

The Old North Bridge . . ... 



Page 

75 
77 
81 

87 
95 
103 
109 
"5 
125 
133 
141 

147 
153 
157 
167 
173 
177 



[xii] 



Old Concord 

Retrospective 




THE best point from which to begin to see Old 
Concord is from the narrow northern end of 
the Square which lies at the center of the town. 
Here, from the sidewalk in front of the rambling 
buildings of the Colonial Inn, one sees stretching 
away an oblong grass plot of scarcely more than 
half an acre, with a granite obelisk in its middle. 
Beyond the oblong, across a strip of roadway, is a 
grassy oval, from which rises a flagstaff. These 
open spaces constitute the Square at Concord, 
Massachusetts, still a center of town life, but more 
than that, a goal of pilgrimage from everywhere. 
Here New England farmers and housewives come 
to attend lectures or town-meeting or church, and 
to carry on many of the public functions of their 
lives. But here also come Southerner and West- 
erner; here come even Englishman and German, 
Japanese and Hindu, to worship for a day at shrines 
not yet forgotten. 
A road runs round the Square, and at its farther 

[3] 



Old Concord 

— the southern — end, its two parts converge into 
a broad street which seems to narrow as it bends 
to the left and disappears on its way to Lexington. 
Its two conspicuous buildings are at its right : first 
a low, red, hip-roofed structure, the ancient Wright 
Tavern, where Pitcairn stirred his brandy ; then, 
rising above it, the white Unitarian church, around 
whose site cluster many memories. As the eye 
travels from these to the opposite side of the street, 
and so back along the left of the Square, one sees 
first a dwelling, then a little burying-ground that 
climbs a hill, the Catholic church, the opening of 
Bedford Street, the big red-and-brown Town Hall, 
and the square, buff Court-house. Or looking from 
the church and tavern along the right side of the 
Square, one sees first the beginning of the Milldam 
(Concord's short business street, closely lined with 
stores), then the neatly planted open space of the 
Middlesex Grounds, then the priest's residence, the 
Catholic parish house, the brick Masonic Lodge, 
and the new Christian Science church. 

Across the Milldam and around the Square move 
quiet trade, pleasant social life, the town's simple 
business ; and except in winter there ebbs and 
flows here the tide of tourists in livery carriage or 
automobile, on bicycle or on foot. But still stand- 

[4] 



Retrospective 

ing at this northerly end of the Square, one can 
leave these commonplace modern matters, and can 
call up visions of many changes. 

In 1850, or thereabout, the town was very differ- 
ent. Only a few years before, Bronson Alcott had 
brought his family to Concord, so he tells us, from 
up-country on an ox-sled. So much for simple 
traveling in the middle of the century. But the 
railroad had just come to Concord too, competing 
with old Deacon Brown's stage-coach that ran tri- 
weekly to Boston, and with the stage-lines to the 
west that, before the railroad, carried to or through 
Concord as many as four hundred passengers a 
week. On the Middlesex Grounds stood then the 
Middlesex Hotel, many-columned, three-storied, 
spick and span, and overflowing, in its season, into 
the four other prosperous hostels which the town 
maintained. For the county court came here twice 
yearly for long sessions ; and the lawyers, their 
clients, the uniformed court officers, and the various 
hangers-on, with their inevitable bustle, gave the 
Square the appearance of holding a fair. Here in 
the crowd the future Doctor Jarvis, a lank boy 
with an unforgettable voice, sold the gingerbread 
of his father the deacon (baked under the building 
which had been, and would be again, Wright's 

[5] 



Old Concord 

Tavern) and received in change the counterfeit 
quarter-dollar which cut sadly into the day's profits. 
Years after, in a Boston bookstore, the voice re- 
vealed him to his deceiver — not a sharper, but 
another boy, and very hungry — who abated in 
trade the twenty-five cents, as conscience money. 
The Square's only formal planting in those days 
was an oval grass-patch that broke the line of Bed- 
ford Street and the Milldam. No obelisk was as 
yet to be seen, and wheel tracks crisscrossed the 
untended space where it was later to stand. The 
buildings of the Colonial Inn were then three private 
residences, in the right hand one of which, where the 
Thoreau family had been brought up, still lived the 
spinster sisters, aunts of Henry Thoreau. The 
nucleus of the Christian Science church was then a 
private house ; the Masonic lodge building had but 
lately been the school where the young Thoreau 
tried his famous experiment in flogging. There was 
then no Catholic parish in Concord, and the priest's 
residence was the "county house," the dwelling of 
the keeper of the jail that stood behind — of which 
also Thoreau had his taste. On the site of the 
Catholic church stood the "green store" which 
supplied ropes and disguises to the young men of 
the town, when they marched down Lexington 

[6] 




The Unitarian Church 



Retrospective 

Road one dark night, intending to do a service to 
Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Court-house was just 
building in 1850; the Town Hall was not erected 
till five years later. The Universalist church, which 
since has vanished, then stood hard by in Bedford 
Street ; it took its origin at the meeting called by 
posted notice, summoning all persons in favor of 
the universal salvation of all mankind to meet at 
Bigelow's Tavern and choose officers. The Uni- 
tarian church was in the early glory of its new belfry, 
for it was but a few years since the building was 
turned to face Lexington Road, the Grecian portico 
added, and the slender spire removed. And Con- 
cord, not then a suburb but a self-sufficing com- 
munity, was a fine example of a thriving shire town. 
As for tourists in the fifties, there were none. 
To be sure, strangers came, but they were mostly 
visitors of certain residents who all belonged to the 
peculiar class of writers. The usefulness of some 
of these inhabitants the town took the liberty of 
doubting. The names of the freeholders among 
them were marked on the town map of 1852. 
"R. W. Emerson," whose house was at the junc- 
tion of Lexington Road and the Cambridge Turn- 
pike, the town indeed knew well. Was not his 
grandfather here at the time of the Fight, he who 

[9] 



Old Concord 

urged the militia to take their stand in the town 
itself ? This William Emerson built the Manse a 
few years before he went away to die in the Revolu- 
tionary War ; and periodically young Ralph and his 
brothers had visited here in the old house, under 
the kindly eye of old Doctor Ripley, who married 
their grandfather's widow. And since 1832, when 
he came here to live, the philosopher had brought 
credit to the town by his writings — except for his 
antislavery notions. Yes, Emerson the town knew 
well, and on the whole was proud of him. 

"J. Thoreau's" name was marked, on the map, 
against a house on Main Street. He too was a 
dependable person, and had brought up his family 
as a respectable man should. But his son Henry 
turned out odd enough, even if his name were known 
as far as New York, or even England. He had 
never made his way in the world ; he would earn 
only enough to keep him, though he was smart 
enough when he improved his father's pencil-making 
machinery. But having done that, he went out to 
Walden Pond and spent two years alone in a shanty. 
What could be done with such a man ? 

Thus it was plain to the town that some of the 
Concord folk whom strangers came to see were 
rather queer. There was, for example, this "Nathl. 

[10] 



Retrospective 

Hawthorne," whose name stood on the map against 
the Lexington Road house which Mr. Alcott sold 
when, following another of his strange ideas, he went 
to Boston. Mr. Hawthorne was becoming cele- 
brated, so people heard, from his book about a 
scarlet letter; but he was so unsocial that he took 
to the woods when people came to visit him. 
Didn't he use to stand in his garden at the Manse 
and dream, in full sight of the road, instead of 
working ? The man lived in a dream ! When 
Emerson's little son showed Mr. Hawthorne some 
pictures of this very Square, he asked what place it 
was ! And he had passed through it hundreds of 
times. 

Also this "W. E. Channing," who owned a house 
on Main Street opposite Thoreau's : he might be a 
poet, but he was as unsociable as Mr. Hawthorne, 
and he walked more miles in the fields and woods 
than any other man besides Henry Thoreau. 

Naturally the town looked askance at the strangers 
who came to visit these men. Some of the visitors 
were certainly famous, and were inoffensive enough. 
But others were mighty queer. Those men with 
long hair, and women with short, and cranks with 
schemes to make the world over, or with diets, or 
methods of dress — Why, they swarmed like bees 

["I 



Old Concord 

around Mr. Emerson's door, and the poor man 
could hardly get rid of them. Transcendentalists 
they called themselves — and no one could give a 
satisfactory meaning to the word ! 

And there was surely smuggling of slaves through 
Concord by means of the Underground Railroad. 
Of course the men who took the risk were so cau- 
tious that it would be hard to prove anything against 
them ; but still, the town had its opinions. The 
Thoreaus were abolitionists, parents and children ; 
it was said that Henry hid slaves in his hut at 
Walden. It was curious that when strange negroes 
took the west-bound train, Henry Thoreau was 
very likely to board it with them, buying tickets to 
Canada but returning too soon to have used them 
himself. Miss Mary Rice, the odd little spinster 
who planted the lilies on John Jack's grave, was 
said to have had a cubby-hole built in her house 
for the special purpose of hiding runaways. And 
Edwin Bigelow the blacksmith, who was on the 
jury for trying those who took the slave Shadrach 
away from his jailers in Boston — Edwin Bigelow 
was the very man who harbored Shadrach in Concord 
and drove him to Leominster on his way to freedom! 

It was all a very dubious business and clearly 
against the law. It was even a very ticklish matter 

[12] 



Retrospective 

for young Mr. Frank B. Sanborn to have John 
Brown, the Kansas abolitionist, here in Concord 
to give an address. The frontiersman slept with a 
big knife at his side and a brass-bound pistol under 
his pillow. Next would come United States marshals 
with warrants to arrest Concord citizens. 

But though the grumblers did not so recognize it, 
the mid-century period was a great one in Con- 
cord's development. Great thoughts were being 
conceived, great books being written, by her citi- 
zens. And even those who took the conservative 
stand, shaking doubtful heads at antislavery and 
the Underground Railroad, were slowly being 
trained to meet the day when, not far ahead, the 
call should come for Concord's soldiers. The only 
thing to depress them then was the rumor that the 
company was not to be allowed to go. To be sure, 
old David Buttrick had wise advice for his sons : 
"Don't go now. This ain't to be a short war, and 
the time will come when they'll pay a bonus." And 
Humphrey Buttrick seemed to have taken the ad- 
vice. He had a family to maintain, and withdrew 
from the company, to the noisy scorn of a neighbor. 
But when the time came to march, Humphrey pre- 
sented himself, and the scorner was not there; so 
his uniform was sent for, and Humphrey marched 

[13] 



Old Concord 

away in it. And David, standing by his ox-team, 
waved good-by to all his sons. 

In the fifties, Concord seemed one large family, 
intimately acquainted with each other's affairs. 
There may have been family quarrels over politics, 
over town offices, but they left no bad blood. Even 
the question of temperance, which came nearer 
home than slavery, made no feuds. The nearest 
to a show of ill-feeling was roused by Doctor Bart- 
lett, who through his practice knew most of the 
evils of drink, and who attacked the rumsellers 
unsparingly. Once his opponents took the nut 
from his wheel, causing him a fall ; and once they 
cut off the tail of his horse and slit his chaise cur- 
tains to ribbons ; but horse and chaise the doctor 
continued to drive as they were, to the shame of 
his persecutors. A "character" the old doctor may 
have been throughout the fifty-seven years of his 
Concord practice; but he left an enviable record 
of public and private service. And it needed char- 
acter to rise to note in that place and time of strong 
personalities, bred on New England soil, and with 
all the Yankee characteristics not yet smoothed out 
by prosperity and outside intercourse. The lives 
of these men, written in Concord's Dictionary of 
Biography, the Social Circle Memoirs, permit an 

[14] 



Retrospective 

intimate view of a community kindly and helpful, 
yet also shrewd, witty, penetrating in criticism, 
and unsparing in attack. 

Yet on the whole those were easy-going times. 
Because Puritanism had gone by, and the stern call 
of war had not yet come, there was still tolerance 
for the two great inherited social evils, slavery 
and intemperance. Ways of living were very 
simple, in spite of new improvements in stoves, 
and lamps, and imported luxuries. Easy-going days 
those were, when the temperance lecturer was in- 
vited by the committee to the hotel, and flip was 
passed around. Easy-going when the judge, find- 
ing that the jailer had taken his prisoners out hay- 
ing, adjourned court till the work should be done. 
Especially easy-going when the bank cashier left 
the safe open when he locked the front door, and 
so during his lunch-hour, one fine day, lost the 
little sum of three hundred thousand dollars. 

But let us go back another fifty years. In 1800 
there was no railway; over the wretched roads (for 
turnpikes were not yet general) struggled but a 
single coach ; and the one daily mail and the weekly 
newspaper were uncertain in their arrival. Concord 
lived very much by itself. Though the county 
courts sat here, in a smaller and quainter building, 

[IS] 



Old Concord 

the volume of business was slight. There was no 
level space for the Town Hall and Bedford Street; 
but the flagpole on the ridge was already in danger 
from the cutting in the gravel pit which would 
finally grow big enough to make room for them. 
The Meeting-house then faced the Square ; over 
its portico was a graceful spire whose removal the 
older inhabitants were later so much to regret, 
offering in vain to replace it. By the tavern stood 
the single little fire-engine house that served the 
whole town. The Milldam was really a milldam, 
and though the stores that lined it cut off the view 
of the pond which business was soon to abolish, the 
old mill was still in active use. The Middlesex 
Hotel site held the Jail Tavern, hiding the old 
stone jail. Beyond the County House was the 
wooden schoolhouse where the brick one was later 
to stand. The dwellings at the end of the Square 
were used for trade, having little shops either in 
their fronts or in sheds close by. The Square was 
unplanted ; it was the Common then, and the only 
visible object that broke its surface, except for the 
elm on its eastern side — in those days used as a 
whipping-post and even to-day holding somewhere 
within its bark the staple to which offenders were 
tied for punishment — was the town pump. 

[16] 




.J- v-'-'«-x^ 






ff^? 






TO* 0« 7V« a* rt; 7ow« tfatf 



Retrospective 

Other differences could be seen in the town. 
There was much more woodland, and the oaks on 
top of Lee's Hill, until recently owned by the traitor 
himself, had just been cut for the frigate which 
they were building in Boston, to be named the 
Constitution. And the life in Concord was very 
simple. There was but one church, at which all 
religious people assembled twice on Sunday for 
three-hour services, "the old, cold, unpainted, 
uncarpeted, square-pewed meeting-house," which 
Emerson remembered so well, "with its four iron- 
gray deacons in the little box under the pulpit, 
with Watts' hymns, with long prayers rich with the 
diction of ages, and not less with the report like 
musketry from the movable seats." There were no 
lectures, and the new library society must wait an- 
other thirty-five years before it accumulated nine 
hundred volumes. There were almost no amuse- 
ments, scarcely even the pleasure of shopping, for 
Concord stores were very few. But to make up for 
this, Concord people were very busy with the work 
of procuring their necessaries. 

To begin with, a century ago, almost every one 
in Concord, even the mechanics, the one doctor, 
the one lawyer, and the minister himself, made much 
if not all of his living by farming. This meant hard 

[19] 



Old Concord 

and continuous labor, extending even to the women. 
To preserve from spoiling, all beef and pork that 
was not immediately eaten must be salted or cured, 
for there was no ice. So every dwelling had its 
brine barrel, and its smoke-house for the curing of 
hams. There were candle-molds hanging in each 
kitchen, in which the housewife could make four, 
six, or a dozen candles at a time. There were other 
implements also : the hackle, the flax-comb, the 
wool-cards, the dye-pot, the wool-wheel, and the 
spinning-wheel ; and in most houses there was still 
the loom. And these, which were used for making 
the clothes for the family, meant work for every 
one. The flax was grown on the farm, the wool 
was raised there, and the men (a hard-working, 
hard-drinking race) cut the crop and sheared the 
sheep, in the proper season. A little cotton was 
bought or bartered. The women did the rest. The 
rotted flax was hackled and combed, the cleaned 
wool was carded into its little white rolls, the women 
walked miles at the wool-wheel, or sat uncounted 
evenings at the flax-wheel ; they dyed the skeins, 
set up the loom, wove the woolen cloth, the linsey- 
woolsey, the linen sheets and spreads and curtains. 
Fine work they did, these ancestresses of ours, with 
patterns handed down from their grandmothers, or 

[20] 



Retrospective 

combined from ancient designs, expressing here, and 
here only, their sense of the beautiful. 

And for the children, the life was not easy. Early 
and late they had to help their elders. At astonish- 
ingly early ages the little girls were set to making the 
samplers which nowadays we collect but cannot imi- 
tate. School perambulated like the cobbler, from 
district to district ; and the teachings were only of 
the rudiments. The pleasure of reading was lack- 
ing, for there were no magazines or story-books, 
and even for the grown-ups there were no novels. 
Tired little folk nodded by the fireside while the 
parents gossiped or discussed theology, for the 
Unitarian controversy was upon the land. Or the 
children crept up-stairs to their chilly rooms, begged 
for the warming-pan between the cold sheets, and 
drew the bed-curtains close about. Romantic it 
may be, seen through rose-colored spectacles a 
hundred years later ; but at the time, the life was 
sad and drab. 

One feature of the period was the prohibition of 
Sunday traveling. Deacons and other such severe 
persons took it upon themselves to watch the roads 
and to halt all travelers between Saturday and 
Sunday sunset. Of Deacon White, who lived at the 
corner of the Square and guarded Lowell Road, 

[21] 



Old Concord 

they tell that on a Sunday morning he stopped a 
teamster on his way home and forbade further 
progress. The teamster tied his horses at the 
deacon's gate, sat (smock frock beside broadcloth) 
at church in the deacon's pew, ate of the deacon's 
dinner, sat again through the afternoon service, 
partook of the deacon's supper, until at last the 
good man saw with relief that the sun was down 
and bade his guest proceed. Years later Samuel 
Hoar also was diligent in stopping travelers. One 
farmer, ruefully studying the destruction caused 
in his crops by a tornado, found his only relief in 
the ejaculation : "I wish this tornado had come last 
Sunday. I should have liked to see whether Sam 
Hoar would have tried to stop it !" 

Another fifty years back, to 1750, reveals less 
change. Yet there were two notable differences, for 
folk talked of their king and looked with friendly 
interest upon traveling redcoats, asking them of 
the war with France. People spoke of England as 
"home." George the Third was not to come to 
the throne for ten years ; and the days of Whig 
and Tory, and of the fight for independence, were a 
generation in the future. Concord was smaller, 
even more isolated and provincial, with the houses 
clustered in little villages. The Square was shape- 

[22] 



*z* ,'■ r 



y & / '<^:- 







TVs* OZi Cofonia/ /»»— Z)««o« ^^ Corner 



Retrospective 

less and neglected ; the Town House, the meeting- 
house (barn-like, yet destined to harbor Harvard 
College), the new little tavern, and the jail, were 
the chief public buildings. There was the yearly 
excitement of "seating the meeting-house," when 
the parish committee was driven to its wits' end, 
and the town stirred to its depths, by hurt and 
angry feelings. But the home drudgery, the lack 
of amusements, the sadness and drabness, were 
more marked than later. 

When we get to the year 1700, we find one other 
factor in life : the unforgettable dread that the 
Indians may swoop down, as was done to Concord's 
neighbor in Philip's War, scarcely fourteen years 
before, and as would be done to Deerfield yet. 
The daily life was very laborious. And Concord 
was very primitive, since the little meeting-house 
was used for church, for town-meeting, and for a 
court when necessary. As for hotels or taverns, 
there were none, nor stores, nor much more than 
bridle-paths for the pedlars who alone brought finery 
to town. 

Sixty-five years farther back, and there was — 
wilderness. 

But the place was not all forest. The three hills 
were wooded, also the ridges that ran here and 

[25] 



Old Concord 

there, and much of the land that lay fifteen feet or 
more above the river level. Yet Concord's Great 
Meadows were large, open spaces, almost free from 
floods and fairly well drained, where (among the 
sweet fern and straggly brush) stood each year 
patches of maize. These were fertilized — five 
herring to a hill — with the fish that came up the 
Musketaquid River each year in spawning time. 
The corn was planted and tended and reaped by 
the squaws that came from the encampment under 
the hill called Nashawtuc. And the fields had 
once been seen by a white man who came with 
Indian guides, and made marks in a book, and 
disappeared in the direction of the settlements on 
the coast. 

And then, late in the fall of this year that the 
white men called sixteen hundred and thirty-five, 
out from the fringe of woods came more white 
men on to the great meadows. They had no guides, 
which accounted for the hardships of their journey 
hither, for their torn clothes, scratched legs, and 
boots marked with the slime of the swamps ; but 
they walked all over the meadows with Tahatta- 
wan the Musketaquid chieftain, shook hands with 
him on some bargain, and seemed pleased. And 
not far from the little brook which the Indians 

[26] 



Retrospective 

dammed with a fish weir, and which perhaps the 
beavers first dammed centuries before, where was a 
mill site, and a sunny hillside close by, these white 
men marked out plots of ground, and promising to 
come again, plunged into the forest, this time with 
a guide to show the shortest way to the settlements. 
In the spring they came again, and more men 
with them, and their wives and children and goods, 
over the rough road that had been opened from 
Watertown. This was a notable venture — that 
men from civilized England should settle here, 
twenty miles from the coast, twelve from navi- 
gable water, surrounded by savages. But the need 
of the day was for farming land, and all else was 
forest ; so here came these adventurers, led by two 
ministers and by a soldier turned trader, to bargain 
with the Indians under the great tree on what was 
some day to be Concord Square. The white women 
huddled together at one side, their children beside 
them. The squaws stood silent at another. And 
beneath the tree sat the chiefs and the Squaw 
Sachem and the medicine man, opposite the white 
men who were no whit less grave ; and they smoked 
the peace-pipe and discussed terms, until at last Mas- 
ter Simon Willard, rising in his place, and " poynt- 
ing to the four quarters of the world," declared 

[27] 



Old Concord 

that the white men had bought three miles from that 
place, east and west and south and north. The red 
men agreed, and wampum and hoes and hatchets 
were given ; and every Indian there stared with ad- 
miration at the medicine man, who stalked about in a 
suit of clothes, a hat with a white band, shoes, stock- 
ings, and a great coat. But the white men noted 
that this bargain had been made with the best of 
good feeling, and that among their own company 
there was very close fellowship ; so for these two 
good reasons they changed the name of the place 
from Musketaquid to Concord. There was no 
thought that a war would some day begin there ; 
only the hope that the peace of God would dwell in 
that place. 

The first year for the white men was a hard one. 
In the side of the sunny hill they made dugouts to 
last them until harvest, while they wrestled with 
the root-encumbered soil, got out their timbers 
from the woods, and built, first of all, the meeting- 
house. The frail roofs leaked, fare was scanty, 
the summer heat was new to them, the wolves got 
all the swine, and the only meat they had was 
bought from the Indians — venison and "rockoons." 
But by winter their houses were framed and boarded 
in, and a little crop was harvested. Concord had in- 

[28] 



Retrospective 

deed to cut its bread very thin for a long season, but 
the beginning had been made. 

Of all the little company, our sympathy must go 
out strongest to Peter Bulkeley, the leading minister. 
Willard, his right-hand man, was a soldier and used 
to hardship. John Jones, his colleague, lost heart 
and went away. But Bulkeley, gently nurtured, 
fought the fight through. He was a man of educa- 
tion ; he had stood well in Puritan circles, until 
forced by Charles I to leave his pulpit, a martyr 
to his opinions. Moreover, being a man of prop- 
erty and therefore taxable, he was forbidden to 
emigrate. But he took the risk and slipped away. 
If here in Concord meadows he saw a likeness to 
his fertile Bedfordshire and its winding streams, the 
resemblance was but slight. Here he dwelt by the 
Square in a log house; his land was stubborn and 
unfruitful at first; his money brought him no in- 
come. Nay, he spent freely more than four of the 
six thousand pounds which he brought to the colonies, 
in the necessary outlay for those who came with him 
to Concord. Friends he had in Boston and Cam- 
bridge, but he might have been leagues from them as 
well as miles, for all he saw of them. He wrote : 
"I am here shut up, and do neither see nor hear." 
His wife frightened him by a sickness, and anxiously 

[29] 



Old Concord 

he watched over her in the uncomfortable attic, 
until at last he could report that again she "began 
to come down into the house." Besides all this, he 
bore his people's burdens. The first of Concord's 
many books contains his own published sermons, 
in which he exhorts his people to holiness, evidently 
seeing nothing else to stay them in their troubles. 

Those troubles were not slight. Sheep could not 
live unless cattle had first been pastured on the 
land, and the cattle did very poorly on the meadow 
grass. Apparently there were wet seasons when 
the land was flooded and the crops suffered. The 
people could not maintain their two ministers (for 
Bulkeley, no longer rich, needed a salary) ; there 
was even talk of abandoning the enterprise, and 
the elders from Boston were called in conference 
on the matter. Finally there came "a discord in 
the church of Concord," caused apparently by 
Bulkeley's "pressing a piece of charity" against 
the stiff conscience of his colleague. So Jones led 
away "the faint-hearted souldiers among them," 
and all we can guess of the ins and outs of the matter 
is from Bulkeley's statement that by it he came : 
"i. To know more of God. 2. To know more of 
himself. 3. To know more of men." 

Relieved of its excess of ballast, the enterprise 

[30] 



Retrospective 

now showed promise of success. Minor troubles 
were easily managed, sometimes by the peremptory 
measures of those days. Poor Mr. Ambrose Martin 
called the church covenant "a human invention," 
and was fined ten pounds. To secure the fine, the 
officials took property which sold for twenty pounds ; 
but the offender could not be persuaded to accept 
the remainder, even though he came to want. The 
tender conscience of Bulkeley led him to urge on 
the governor a remission of the original fine; but 
stern Endicott refused, and "our poore brother" 
went destitute to his grave. 

The Indians never threatened Concord; they 
were, at least in early times, rather to be considered 
as childlike dependents. As they failed to under- 
stand that they had sold their fish-weir with the 
land, a second bargaining seems to have been neces- 
sary, in order that the white men might be free to 
build their mill upon the brook. And so the be- 
ginning of our Milldam was made. The personal 
habits of the Indians grieved and sometimes vexed 
their white brothers, until a sort of treaty was 
drawn up, by which the Indians agreed to submit 
themselves to fines and other simple punishments 
for ordinary misdemeanors. But since the occasion 
was too good not to improve for both religion and 

[ 31 1 



Old Concord 

morality, the Indians were induced to promise to 
"improve their time," to labor after "humilitye," 
to wear their hair "comely like the English," to give 
up greasing themselves, not to howl and paint them- 
selves when mourning, and to knock before entering 
an Englishman's house. 

Nevertheless, smile as we may at these simple 
matters, there was a pathetic note in the Indians' 
request that they be not forced to remove far from 
their friends at Concord, but that they be allowed 
to remain near by, in order to hear the word of 
God, and not to forget to pray. So a settlement 
was granted them in Nashoba, now Acton, but a 
few miles away. 

There was in early days a beginning of our Square. 
Soon after Bulkeley's time, it became common 
land. And we may be sure, as we look at it, that 
Bulkeley trod it, and John Eliot, the apostle to 
the Indians, through whose aid, doubtless, the 
Concord Indians were so tamed. And Winthrop 
and Dudley, brothers-in-law, must have come here, 
for they owned land just outside the town and 
gave their name to the boundary stone in the 
brook in the east quarter, — the Two Brothers. 

And hard times passed. The shapeless common, 
the dam at the mill, saw the empty houses filled, 

[32] 



Retrospective 

more people at meeting, prosperity. Bulkeley could 
at last know that his great venture had succeeded. 
His neighbors could look forward to a secure future. 
Emerson mirrored their minds when he wrote : 

" Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint, 
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil 
Hay, corn, roots, flax, hemp, apples, wool, and wood. 
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm, 
Saying, "Tis mine, my children's and my name's. 
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees ! 
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill ! 
I fancy those pure waters and the flags 
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize.'" 



[33] 



Military Affairs 




--^■~=^pj~jjfeA&iiJ- ki^~. 



II 

AS geography is the handmaid of strategy as 
well as of trade, let us, before we leave this 
post at the north end of the Square, master so 
much of the plan of Concord as is necessary for a 
clear understanding of its famous Fight. Coming 
from Boston by way of Lexington, Lexington Road 
(closely bordered for a mile on the right by a steep 
ridge) leads into the Square at its farther end. 
From the near left-hand corner, Monument Street 
leads out again to the North Bridge, less than a 
mile away. These two streets mark the essential 
route of the British ; the ridge, which less steeply 
borders Monument Street also, was a factor in the 
doings of the day. Out of the Square, again, the 
Milldam leads to the right, and by way of Main 
Street takes travelers to the South Bridge. In 
early times, there were no other bridges in the 
town, and no other streets led from the Square. 
The Town House (its site marked by the present 
memorial stone at the west of the Square) Wright's 

I 37] 



Old Concord 

Tavern, the Meeting-house, and the brick mill at 
the end of the Milldam, were the chief buildings. 

For some years previous to 1775, trouble had 
been brewing in Massachusetts. Boston had ex- 
perienced its Massacre and its Tea-party, and was 
filled with the king's soldiers. Against them the 
spirit of resistance was growing in the colony. The 
line of cleavage in the people, dividing Whig from 
Tory, showed itself very plainly in Concord. It 
even cut into families. Daniel Bliss, the former 
pastor of the town, had been a stout old loyalist; 
but his children took different sides. Phebe, a 
woman of strong character, married her father's 
successor, young William Emerson, first of the 
name in Concord, but of Bulkeley blood, and a 
defender of the rights of the colonies. Phebe's 
brother Daniel took the other side. A lawyer, he 
upheld the law; the son-in-law of a prominent 
Tory, he was strengthened by family influence. 
His house stood on Walden Street; the dwelling 
must have been nearly opposite the present post- 
office, though then there were no buildings between 
it and the mill-pond. Bliss was one of the justices 
of the Court of Common Pleas, with the rest of 
whom he was forced to promise to discontinue its 
sittings. He had even to submit to being deprived 

[38] 



Military Affairs 

of his tea, and had to be careful where he bought 
any of his supplies ; for Concord, like other towns, 
not only refused to buy goods imported from Eng- 
land, but even threatened a boycott against all 
who did buy any. 

Bliss is well remembered for his share in a striking 
scene that took place in the old meeting-house. 
Conventions were frequent in those days ; they 
were held in the big church, and at one of them 
Bliss seized his chance to express his opinion, and 
to utter his warning, on the course which the Whigs 
were pursuing. His address was a good one, driven 
home with forensic skill, wit, and biting sarcasm. 
The wealth and power of Britain made her in- 
vincible ; the fringe of colonists along the coast 
could do nothing against her might ; they were 
treading a dangerous way, and should turn back 
before they were crushed. At the end of the 
speech, there was such a silence that Bliss must 
have believed himself successful. Then, since the 
older men did not speak, slowly there rose from his 
seat a young man in homespun, at the sight of 
whom the eyes of all the Whigs brightened. He 
began slowly, but as he gained confidence, his halt- 
ing words began to come as freely as those of Bliss. 
His ideals were higher, his appeal more thrilling. 

[39] 



Old Concord 

A Worcester delegate, watching the frowning and 
fretting Bliss, asked, "Who is that man ?" 

"Hosmer, a mechanic." 

"A mechanic ? Then how comes he to speak 
such good English ?" 

"Because he has an old mother who sits in the 
chimney corner and reads English poetry all the 
day long; and I suppose it is 'like mother like 
son.' His influence over the young men is won- 
derful, and where he leads they will be sure to 
follow." 

And follow they did. The response to Hosmer's 
speech showed Bliss that the struggle must come. 
There was left for him only to show that he be- 
lieved in his own words. 

This final test came to another Tory earlier than 
to Bliss. On the farm where once dwelt "Simon 
Willard, one of the founders of Concord," lived 
Joseph Lee, the town's physician. Everything is 
now changed about his place, even to the very 
name ; for Lee's Hill is now Nashawtuc, two bridges 
make useless the doctor's ford, and many modern 
residences dot his acres. Lee was a man born for 
opposition and hot water ; he had seceded from the 
parish, forming with others what was derisively 
called the Black Horse Church, because it met in 

[40] 



Military Affairs 

the tavern of that name; and when the original 
cause of quarrel had been removed, he made as 
much uproar in trying to return as ever he had done 
in seceding. Such a man was likely to take an 
original path in revolutionary troubles ; and he did 
so. 

There came to town the news that Gage, the 
governor in Boston, had seized the provincial pow- 
der and cannon, and might shortly do — nobody 
knew what. The occasion of reproving him, and at 
the same time of removing some of the new unpopular 
officers, was too good to be lost. From all towns 
the militia companies, some actually under the be- 
lief that Boston had suffered a second Massacre, 
hurried toward Cambridge. Planning a night march, 
Ephraim Wood, one of Concord's most important 
men, invited the doctor to go, — perhaps as a test. 

"My heart is with you," quoth the doctor, "but 
I cannot go." 

Yet at early darkness the doctor crossed the 
ford; and when the company returned from its 
successful journey, it was discovered that he had 
been to Cambridge in advance of them. Sum- 
moned and questioned — was it before one of 
those impromptu meetings in the Square, to which 
the town was then much given ? — he admitted 

[41] 



Old Concord 

that he had given warning of the coming of the 
militia. 

The sequel was the humiliating declaration which 
Lee publicly signed. "When I coolly reflect on 
my own imprudence, it fills my mind with the 
deepest anxiety. I deprecate the resentment of 
my injured country, humbly confess my errors, 
and implore the forgiveness of a generous and free 
people, solemnly declaring that for the future I 
will never convey any intelligence to any of the 
court party, neither directly nor indirectly, by 
which the designs of the people may be frustrated, 
in opposing the barbarous policy of an arbitrary, 
wicked, and corrupt administration." 

Concord meeting-house became for a while the 
center of interest for the whole of Massachusetts. 
Let us remember that in those days the old church 
stood lengthwise to the road, without bell or cupola 
or external ornament ; but that it was roomier 
even than at present, having two galleries that 
accommodated all members of the Provincial Con- 
gress which, late in 1774 and again early in 1775, 
met here to plan the rebellion. Here the Congress 
passed its resolve to stop the payment of taxes to 
the king ; here it began the treasonable action of 
raising and equipping an army. And in Concord 

[42] 



Military Affairs 

began to accumulate those military stores which 
the royal governor would have to seize if he wished 
to cripple his disloyal subjects. It was at Concord, 
therefore, that his first blow must be struck. 

Foreseeing the great emergency, the province in- 
creased its military strength. Its ancient militia 
comprised every able-bodied man ; but now from 
these were drawn new companies to make a mobile 
force of young men, ready to spring to arms, and 
to march as far and as swiftly as might be needed. 
It was Concord which first created their form of 
oath, "to hold ourselves in readiness at a minute's 
warning with arms and ammunition." So the 
Minutemen first came into being. At worship or 
at work, their arms were always at hand. 

The comic now intruded. Wearing disguises 
which no Yankee could fail to penetrate, trudging 
on foot, two British officers came to spy out the 
land. They sketched a map of the roads, saw 
what they could of the preparations for defence, 
and asked their way to the house of Daniel Bliss. 
A woman pointed across the Milldam to the house 
that looked on the pond. A very comfortable 
dinner they must have had with Bliss, glad as they 
were to get out of the public gaze. 

But Bliss can scarcely have been easy in his 

[43] 



Old Concord 

mind, knowing that his guests had been marked to 
his door. First the woman who had guided them 
came, weeping because of her townsmen's threats 
against her; then came a message for Bliss him- 
self : he should not leave the town alive ! 

"What," asked his guests, "are the Yankees 
ugly? Will they fight?" 

Bliss pointed out the window. "There goes 
my own brother. He will fight you in blood up 
to the knees." 

"Come away with us, then," urged the officers. 
"We are armed and can protect you." 

So by Lexington Road the three stole out of town 
in the dusk, and Bliss never saw Concord again. 
For him, comedy had become tragedy ; and for 
the country, the whole great drama at last was 
turning grimly earnest. Lexington Road, the 
Square, and the Milldam, were to witness more 
than this pathetic exit. 

Paul Revere came frequently from Boston, bear- 
ing messages from Joseph Warren to Hancock and 
Samuel Adams and the other provincial leaders in 
the Congress. On the fifteenth of April Revere 
brought word that the British would move soon. 
Much too slowly it was borne in upon the guardians 
of the stores that it was foolhardy to wait longer. 

[44] 



Military Affairs 

But when the word was given, Concord sprang to 
tasks which had been designated at least a month 
beforehand. Horses were hitched, carts trundled 
on the highway, and at noon on the eighteenth of 
April, powder and ball were loaded up for their 
journey to places of greater safety. The "alarm 
company," true to their oath, must remain on the 
spot ; but the other men were busily driving the 
carts away. 

The work was too great to be done quickly, but 
it was eagerly pushed. The powder must first 
have been saved, for none whatever was captured. 
But it must have been plain that the rest of the 
stores — cannon, shot, bullets, and food — were 
in danger. Over the roads, never too good, and 
always soft in spring, the heavy carts labored. 
The Square must have been a busy place till late 
at night, and peace came slowly to the town. 

Then the call of war came early. Young Doctor 
Prescott, who had been visiting his sweetheart in 
Lexington, and who was returning in company 
with Paul Revere, bearing the fateful news of the 
coming of the British, barely escaped when Revere 
was captured by a patrol of English officers. By 
a roundabout route he came to Concord with the 
alarm, roused the guard at the Court-house, and 

[45] 



Old Concord 

told his news. Alarm guns were fired, and the bell 
was tolled. It is said that the first man to appear 
in response was the minister, William Emerson, 
his gun on his shoulder. And in a little while the 
whole of the alarm company was there, parading 
on the Square. 

Wright's Tavern was the focus of excitement for 
many hours, the small, square, hip-roofed building, 
in those days without its present ell. Such or- 
ganization as could be maintained was centered 
there, where the officers and selectmen were ac- 
customed to meet, and where now it was natural 
to go for consultation. The work of saving the 
stores was continued as best it could be, but the 
absence of most of the teams made it impossible 
to cart away all of the remaining deposits. Some 
of them were concealed near by, under hay or brush, 
or in the woods ; but at the mill and the malt-house 
the barrels remained unhidden. One careful soul 
saved the church silver by throwing it into the soap- 
barrel at the tavern, whence it emerged so black that 
no one but a silversmith could polish it. 

The men who had yesterday gone away with the 
teams at last began to come back with their mus- 
kets ; the Minutemen from Lincoln arrived ; some 
few came, as individuals, from other towns. The 

[46] 




The Wright Tavern 



Military Affairs 

commanders of this little body marched them to 
the liberty pole on the hill, to wait there while a 
detachment was sent to reconnoiter. Down Lex- 
ington Road this company marched, past the spot 
where Hoar had housed his Indians, past the place 
where, in imagination, Hawthorne put the house 
of Septimius Felton on that day, past the end of 
the winding ridge that flanked the highway, and 
out upon the Great Meadows toward Lexington. 
And then, says private Amos Barret, who was of 
the company, "we saw them coming." He leaves 
us to imagine the scene as viewed from Meriam's 
Corner : the Minutemen in homespun halting, the 
British in their scarlet, gold, and flashing steel 
advancing upon them across the level, sunlit 
meadow. 

The Minutemen marched back, their drums and 
fifes playing defiantly — "and also the British. 
We had grand musick," writes the simple private. 
But the matter was more seriously viewed by the 
leaders under the liberty pole, to whom flying mes- 
sengers bore word of the overwhelming strength 
of the regulars. One fiery soul spoke out. 

"Let us stand our ground !" cried the minister. 
How they must have loved him for it ! 

But there were strategists at the council, cuncta- 

[49] 



Old Concord 

tors, delayers. Time would conquer these invaders 
before night. The regulars came in sight, the 
grenadiers on the road below, the light infantry- 
advancing as flankers along the ridge, fiery eager 
at the sight of the liberty pole and its defenders. 
But the best possible disposition had been made of 
the stores, the town was practically empty of its 
inhabitants, and there was nothing to fight for. 
And so the militia withdrew across the North Bridge, 
to wait reinforcements on the slope of Punkatasset 
Hill. As they passed the Manse, the minister 
dropped out of the ranks, staying to defend his little 
family. 

It was the British who now occupied the Square. 
Their commander, Smith, sent guards to the two 
bridges, and a detachment across the North Bridge. 
In the village, the remaining troops were busy, 
ransacking all possible hiding-places and destroying 
what they could. They found two cannon and 
knocked off the trunnions ; they rummaged out a 
quantity of wooden spoons and intrenching tools 
and burnt them on the green ; at the malt-house, 
they found the barrels of flour, broke some of them 
open, and rolled the rest into the mill-pond. 

But the barrels thus submerged were found, 
when drawn out, to have protected their contents 

[So] 



Military Affairs 

very well. Bullets flung into the pond were, when 
salvaged, quite as good as ever. The quantity of 
flour stored near the mill was saved by a trick. 
Among them were some bags and barrels of the 
miller's own, and when questioned by an officer, 
he put his hand on these. "This is my flour," he 
said. "I am a miller, sir. Yonder stands my 
mill. I get my living by it. In the winter I grind 
a great deal of grain, and get it ready for market 
in spring. This is the flour of wheat, this is the 
flour of corn, this is the flour of rye; this," and 
again he touched his own property, "is my flour; 
this is my wheat; this is my rye; this is mine." 
The officer studied his countenance, and then, re- 
marking that the miller seemed too simple to play 
a trick, left the barrels untouched. 

Beyond the mill, and beyond the burying-ground 
on Main Street, stood Bigelow's Tavern, where 
was stored a chest of papers and money belonging 
to the treasurer of the province. As the soldiers 
were about to search the chamber in which it lay, 
a maid remonstrated, declaring that the room was 
hers and contained her property. Again the par- 
tial truth concealed a fact, and the chest was left 
untouched. 

On the Square, beside the Town House whose 

[Si] 



Old Concord 

site is marked by a tablet, lived Martha Moulton, 
"widow woman," seventy-one years old, whom 
the general flight of neighbors had left alone with 
an old man of more than eighty. A politic soul she 
proved herself, submissive to the soldiers who de- 
manded water, and to Major Pitcairn and the 
other officers who sat on her chairs on the grass, 
directing their men. She had even scraped a little 
favor with them, so as to chat, "when all on a 
sudden they had set fire to the great gun carriages 
close by the house," and she saw smoke rising 
from the Town House, "higher than the ridge." 
Bravely she expostulated with them, would not be 
rebuffed by sneers, pointed out the sure damage 
to the row of buildings, and standing with a pail 
of water in her hand, "put as much strength to 
her arguments as an unfortunate widow could 
think of," and so touched Pitcairn's heart. The 
fire was extinguished by the soldiers who set it, 
and for her services Martha Moulton was later 
awarded the sum of three pounds by a grateful 
province. 

So far as is known, Amos Wright stayed by the 
tavern to which, though his occupancy was the 
shortest in its history, he gave his name. He had 
been a schoolmaster ; later he was called captain : 

[52] 



Military Affairs 

but on this day his business was to protect his 
property by ready and obliging service to its tem- 
porary possessors. For Smith made it his head- 
quarters, and from it issued his orders. And when 
from the North Bridge came the report that the 
militia were gathering on the hill beyond in threat- 
ening numbers, Smith may be pictured as leaving 
the tavern to march on foot, "very fat, heavy 
man" as he was, at the head of the reinforcing 
detachment. Perhaps he wanted the relief of walk- 
ing, after twenty miles of unaccustomed riding; 
but at any rate, so a grumbler among his subor- 
dinates recorded in his diary, "he stopt 'em from 
being time enough." 

Pitcairn was left in command at the tavern. 
His fortune connected him closely with American 
history at this period, for he fell bravely at Bunker 
Hill. "Amiable and gallant," an opponent wrote 
of him ; he was beloved by his men and respected 
by his adversaries. But he is best known by a 
remark which he made as he stood, it is interesting 
to think, in front of the tavern, with his critical 
eye upon the men who were still at their work 
of burning the American supplies. Who reported 
the remark ? No one so likely as the tavern keeper, 
who brought him the glass of brandy and water — 

[S3] 



Old Concord 

and sugar — which the major jovially stirred with 
his finger. 

"I hope so to stir the Yankee blood this day." 

Was it then that he heard, from the direction in 
which Smith had disappeared, the distant crash of 
musketry ? 

Satisfaction first, at the short sullen roll of the 
regular volley. These homespuns were again, as 
at Lexington, as at Boston five years before, being 
taught their lesson. But next came, for the first 
time, startling as the noise of a gigantic watchman's 
rattle shaken by a warning hand, the sharp rever- 
beration of the scattering reply. 

What hasty orders shouted and reechoed, what 
snatching up of weapons, what hurried forming of 
ranks in the Square ! 

Meanwhile, the detachment sent to the North 
Bridge had taken up its several duties. Three 
companies pressed on beyond the bridge, and under 
the guidance of one of those officers who had come 
to visit Daniel Bliss, sought the house of Colonel 
James Barrett, still standing on Barrett's Mill 
Road. Barrett was the commander of the militia, 
a man of sixty-four, disabled from much marching, 
but active on horseback. The stores were largely 
in his charge, and he had been very busy in re- 

[54] 



Military Affairs 

moving them. On the retirement of the militia 
from the town, he had hastily ridden home, given 
directions concerning stores to be hidden on his 
place, and had once more departed to join his men. 
Those at the farm had been working hard. The 
bed of sage was lifted, cannon wheels were planted 
underneath, and the herbs replaced. Other ma- 
terial was hidden under hay and manure. In the 
garret were flints, balls, and cartridges, stored in 
open barrels, in the tops of which, having no time 
for removal, the womenfolk put a few inches of 
feathers. Most valuable, however, were certain 
cannon. These were hastily taken to the field, a 
furrow plowed, and the guns laid in it; then they 
were concealed by turning another furrow over 
them. This work was finished while the regulars 
were in sight, advancing on the farm. 

Mrs. Barrett was equal to the emergency. Com- 
posedly she gave leave to search the buildings, gave 
food and water to the men, refused to provide 
spirits to a sergeant. Thereupon Captain Parsons, 
the commander of the party, forbade the man to 
drink : he needed to be fit for duty, for there was 
bloody work ahead, on account of the men killed 
at Lexington. Mrs. Barrett refused pay for her 
provisions, saying: "We are commanded to feed 

[55] 



Old Concord 

our enemies." When they threw the money in 
her lap, she remarked : "This is the price of blood." 
The men found some gun carriages and piled them 
for burning, near the barn. At this Mrs. Barrett 
expostulated, and the material was removed to a 
safer place. Of her son the captain demanded 
his name and ordered him seized, to be sent to 
England for trial. "He is my son," said Mrs. 
Barrett, "and not the master of the house," and 
so he was released. As the gun carriages were for 
the second time about to be lighted, the noise of 
firing was heard from the bridge, and Captain Par- 
sons called his men together for the retreat. 

In order to understand what happened at the 
bridge, we need to remember that in those days 
the present highway bridge did not exist, and that 
the old bridge, now in its cul-de-sac, carried the main 
road. Though now the approach is more closely 
shaded by trees, the place is otherwise the same. 
From its bend the sluggish stream flows under the 
simple structure ; the meadows lie open to the sun ; 
seldom are signs of industry in view. There is not 
even the plash or murmur of quick water. 

To this abode of peace, then, came the soldiers. 
Captain Laurie, holding the bridge, disposed his 
men according to his best skill. One company he 

[56] 







7%^ 0/i .E/trAa /on? j- i/ oiu* — 7A* ZTou^ with the Bullet Hole 



Military Affairs 

posted, mistakenly, across the river, where the 
statue of the Minuteman now stands. Another 
company he sent to the top of the ridge past which 
he had come. Everything goes to show that the 
country was then not so wooded as to-day, and 
that men thus posted could see much. His third 
company was, for a time at least, at the Elisha 
Jones house, which stands opposite the Manse, one 
of the very oldest houses in the town. In outline 
it was much the same as to-day, with its two stories 
and hip roof, and its shed connected with the house. 
The soldiers swarmed in its dooryard and drank at 
its well; they did not search the building, nor did 
they suspect that its owner was in its cellar with a 
loaded musket, ready to protect not only his family, 
but also tons of the fish and beef which the soldiers 
had come from Boston to destroy. 

The soldiers appear also not to have molested the 
Manse. There the minister remained with his 
family, one of whom (that Mary Moody Emerson 
to whom the philosopher was later to owe so much) 
used to boast that she was "in arms at the Fight." 
But there was no joking at the time ; the minister 
could have seen very little good cheer in his view 
of the redcoats on two sides of his house. 

The militia, on leaving the town, had crossed the 

[59] 



Old Concord 

bridge and waited on Punkatasset Hill for the rein- 
forcements which speedily came. More Concord 
men returned from their journeys with the stores ; 
and singly or in companies, men came in from 
Bedford, Acton, Westford, Chelmsford, and Carlisle. 
Joseph Hosmer, whom we have seen defeating 
Daniel Bliss in debate, was made adjutant of the 
muster. Growing more confident as his strength 
increased, Colonel Barrett ordered the provincials 
down to the neighborhood of the house of his major, 
Buttrick. The militia and Minutemen formed at a 
spot marked to-day by a tablet in the wall of Liberty 
Street, whence the riflemen among them might have 
dropped their bullets among the guard at the bridge. 
At this movement of the provincials, the regulars 
were alarmed. Captain Laurie called in his two 
outposts, and the three companies formed at the 
head of the bridge, still mistakenly on the same 
side as the militia, without protection of any sort. 
The captain sent to Smith his summons for rein- 
forcements, while the Americans still lingered be- 
hind the breastwork of a wall, not ready to take 
the responsibility of an attack. A great responsi- 
bility ! For they were still subjects of the king, 
bred in the Englishman's dislike of change, and 
open to the vengeance of the strongest power on 

[60] 



Military Affairs 

earth. The news from Lexington had not yet 
certainly reached them. And so they hesitated, 
the higher officers consulting with some of the 
civilians as to what should next be done. 

It was now, not long after nine o'clock of that 
fine morning — the sun still as bright as when 
prophetic Samuel Adams, at dawn in Lexington, 
had called it glorious ; the grass, in that early 
spring, mid-leg deep in the field below — it was now 
that Hosmer, the adjutant, saw large clouds of 
smoke rolling up above the town. His soul took 
fire ; he went to the council of his superiors and 
demanded, pointing to the smoke : "Will you let 
them burn the town down ?" 

The captains immediately begged to be sent 
against the bridge. Smith, of Lincoln, offered to 
dislodge the British. Davis, of Acton, said, "I 
haven't a man that's afraid to go." The responsi- 
bility of the order rested with Barrett, the colonel, 
and manfully he took it. He ordered Buttrick to 
lead his men at the bridge, with the caution not to 
fire unless fired upon. For every provincial in 
Massachusetts was drilled in the precept that the 
king's troops must shed the first blood. The Acton 
company took the lead in columns of twos ; pres- 
ently Captain Brown's Concord company pressed 

[ 61 ] 



Old Concord 

up abreast of it; behind was the second Concord 
company, and then the remaining troops, their 
order directed by the mounted colonel. In front 
marched Buttrick, and with him Lieutenant-colonel 
Robinson of Westford, to whom Buttrick had of- 
fered the command, but who preferred to march 
as volunteer. Thus they bore down upon the 
bridge. 

At the first movement of the Americans, Captain 
Laurie, perceiving the weakness of his position, 
hastily withdrew his men across the bridge, and 
formed them clumsily once more, the companies 
one behind the other, "so that only the front one 
could fire." At the captain's order, some of the 
men began to take up the planks of the bridge, an 
act quite of a piece with all that he had done, since 
he thus would endanger the retreat of the detach- 
ment at Colonel Barrett's. Buttrick, raising his 
voice, shouted to the British to desist. 

At this, two or three shots were fired by the 
British into the river, signal or alarm guns, to 
which the Americans paid no attention. A shot 
was fired at Buttrick himself ; it passed between 
him and Robinson, and wounded two men behind. 
Davis, the Acton captain, stepped to one side to 
be clear of his men, and prepared to fire, when im- 

[62] 



Military Affairs 



mediately the British volley rang out. Davis fell, 
and with him one of his men. Some few were 
wounded, the rest untouched by the bullets that 
went overhead. Said Amos Barrett : "The balls 
whistled well." 

Over in the Manse the minister, his soul on fire, 
had but one dread : that the volley would not be 
returned. 

He need not have doubted. Buttrick sprang 
from the ground as he turned to the ranks. "Fire, 
fellow-soldiers, for God's sake, fire !" The order 
was doubtless modified by the company commanders. 
Says Barrett : "We were then all ordered to fire that 
could fire and not kill our own men." The minister 
heard the response and saw the result. Leaving 
two of their privates dying on the ground, with half 
their officers wounded, and many of their men, the 
regulars retreated in haste, around the bend in the 
road and past the Elisha Jones house. 

Here Jones, roused from his concealment in the 
cellar, threw up an upstairs window to fire on the 
retreating redcoats. But his wife clung to him, 
showed him the danger to the family, and took 
away his gun. Then Jones, in scornful triumph, 
showed himself at the door of his shed, to sneer at 
the beaten troops as they crowded by, some bind- 

[63] 



Old Concord 

ing up their wounds, some aiding their limping 
comrades. One of the British, observing him, fired 
hastily as he passed. The bullet passed through 
the wall 'at his right and glanced out through the 
rear into the hillside. The front wall shows its 
hole to this day. 

The Americans, coming in pursuit, saw the fugi- 
tives join Smith's party. After some hesitation, 
the regulars retreated. Smith thus left Captain 
Parsons and his detachment to their fate. The 
provincials could have intercepted them. But not 
yet had the rebels realized that, as has been said, 
while the men to whom Buttrick gave his order 
were subjects of King George, the men who fired 
and who pursued were citizens of another country. 
Not yet did they feel that this was war. The three 
companies were allowed to pass on their hasty re- 
treat, the guard from the South Bridge came in, 
and the whole force of regulars was gathered in the 
village. 

Here they were too strong for the Americans ; 
and besides, they could burn the town. But time 
was still working for the militia. Therefore nothing 
was done by them while Smith, by futile marchings 
and countermarchings, displayed, as the minister 
wrote in his diary, "great fickleness and inconstancy 

[64] 



Military Affairs 

of mind." The British commander was perhaps 
waiting for the reinforcements for which he had 
sent; but at last, being but too well aware that 
the country was aroused against him, and that he 
must start soon if he wished to reach Boston at all, 
about noon he began his retreat. 

The troops marched out of the town as they had 
entered, by Lexington Road. For a mile this is 
bordered by the ridge which we have repeatedly 
noticed ; and to prevent attack from this vantage 
point, Smith sent his flankers along it. It was on 
this ridge, where Hawthorne later wore his path, 
that he set the scene of Septimius Felton's duel 
with the British officer. 

"While the young man stood watching the march- 
ing of the troops, he heard the noise of rustling 
boughs, and the voices of men, and soon under- 
stood that the party, which he had seen separate 
itself from the main body and ascend the hill, was 
now marching along on the hill-top, the long ridge 
which, with a gap or two, extended as much as a 
mile from the village. One of these gaps occurred 
a little way from where Septimius stood. . . . He 
looked and saw that the detachment of British was 
plunging down one side of this gap, with intent to 
ascend the other, so that they would pass directly 
over the spot where he stood ; a slight removal to 
one side, among the small bushes, would conceal 
him. He stepped aside accordingly, and from his 

[6 S ] 



Old Concord 

concealment, not without drawing quicker breaths, 
beheld the party draw near. They were more in- 
tent upon the space between them and the main 
body than upon the dense thicket of birch-trees, 
pitch-pines, sumach, and dwarf oaks, which, scarcely 
yet beginning to bud into leaf, lay on the other side, 
and in which Septimius lurked. 

"[Describe (says Hawthorne's memorandum) how 
their faces affected him, passing so near; how strange 
they seemed.] 

"They had all passed, except an officer who 
brought up the rear, and who had perhaps been 
attracted by some slight motion that Septimius 
made, — some rustle in the thicket ; for he stopped, 
fixed his eyes piercingly towards the spot where he 
stood, and levelled a light fusil which he carried. 
'Stand out, or I shoot,' said he. 

"Not to avoid the shot, but because his manhood 
felt a call upon it not to skulk in obscurity from 
an open enemy, Septimius at once stood forth, and 
confronted the same handsome young officer with 
whom those fierce words had passed on account of his 
rudeness to Rose Garfield. Septimius's fierce Indian 
blood stirred in him, and gave a murderous excitement. 

"'Ah, it is you !' said the young officer, with 
a haughty smile. 'You meant, then, to take up 
with my hint of shooting at me from behind a hedge. 
This is better. Come, we have in the first place the 
great quarrel between me, a king's soldier, and you 
a rebel ; next our private affair, on account of 
yonder pretty girl. Come, let us take a shot on 
either score !' 

"The young officer was so handsome, so beau- 
tiful, in budding youth ; there was such a free, gay 

[ 66 ] 



Military Affairs 

petulance in his manner; there seemed so little of 
real evil in him; he put himself on equal ground 
with the rustic Septimius so generously, that the 
latter, often so morbid and sullen, never felt a 
greater kindness for fellow-man than at this moment 
for this youth. 

"'I have no enmity towards you,' said he; 'go 
in peace.' 

"'No enmity!' replied the officer. 'Then why 
were you here with your gun amongst the shrub- 
bery ? But I have a mind to do my first deed of 
arms on you ; so give up your weapon, and come 
with me as prisoner.' 

"'A prisoner !' cried Septimius, that Indian fierce- 
ness that was in him arousing itself, and thrusting 
up its malign head like a snake. 'Never ! If you 
would have me, you must take my dead body.' 

'"Ah, well, you have pluck in you, I see, only it 
needs a considerable stirring. Come, this is a good 
quarrel of ours. Let us fight it out. Stand where 
you are, and I will give the word of command. 
Now ; ready, aim, fire ! ' 

"As the young officer spoke these three last words, 
in rapid succession, he and his antagonist brought 
their firelocks to the shoulder, aimed and fired. 
Septimius felt, as it were, the sting of a gadfly pass- 
ing across his temple as the Englishman's bullet 
grazed it ; but, to his surprise and horror (for the 
whole thing scarcely seemed real to him), he saw 
the officer give a great start, drop his fusil, and 
stagger against a tree, with his hand to his breast." 

Past the scene of this imaginary duel, past the 
ridge itself and out into the open, the regulars 

[ 67 ] 



Old Concord 

marched. At Meriam's Corner the meadow be- 
gins, and there comes in the old road from Bedford. 
As the British left the corner, down from the ridge 
came marching the front rank of the pursuing 
Americans, while the Bedford road was filled with 
the alarm companies from Reading and Billerica. 
The British rear-guard halted, turned, and fired on 
their pursuers. The Americans responded so ac- 
curately that the regulars fled again. "When I 
got there," says Barrett, " a great many lay dead, 
and the road was bloody." 

Another mile, and the British were out of Concord 
territory ; but in that mile they got their taste of 
that which was to come. From wall and thicket, 
from hill-top and wood, bullets came from unseen 
marksmen. Here and there were flitting figures ; 
but no regiment stopped the road, nor did any 
visible body of troops present such a challenge as 
the honor of the regulars would allow them to ac- 
cept. Men dropped in the ranks, Pitcairn was 
wounded and lost his horse, the officers had to turn 
their swords upon their own weary and demoralized 
men to keep them from headlong flight, and it is 
said that Smith would have surrendered before 
reaching Lexington could he have seen any one of 
sufficient rank to whom to offer his sword. And 

[68] 













r 0h 



The Monument of 1836, and across the Bridge the "Minute Man' 



Military Affairs 

when at last in Lexington the fleeing redcoats met 
the relieving column under Lord Percy, they flung 
themselves for rest on the ground, their tongues (in 
the words of their own historian) hanging out of 
their mouths like those of dogs after a chase. A 
little rest under the protection of Percy's cannon, 
fifteen miles more of flight and chase, and the troops 
reached their own lines, not again to leave them 
until they were driven from Boston, eleven months 
later. 

Such was, for Concord, the day of the Concord 
Fight. The numbers engaged were small, the losses 
on either side were comparatively unimportant, 
but the act was immensely significant. The his- 
tory of a continent had changed. 

But as we look at French's noble statue of the fine 
young Minuteman leaving the plow in the furrow to 
start with his rifle for the beginning of a great war, 
we must not allow ourselves to suppose that in- 
dividual impulse guided or decided the events of 
the day. True, the citizen soldiery was from its 
youth accustomed to the rifle, and the harrying 
tactics of the pursuit necessarily depended on the 
skill of the separate men. But even this was guided 
by method, and the action of the day had been 
foreseen and planned long in advance. The organiza- 

[71] 



Old Concord 

tion of the Minutemen was months old; through- 
out the province the regimental rosters were 
complete ; each company knew its meeting-place and 
the shortest route to the line of the British march. 
And at Concord the wise strategy of the day was 
decided by the elder officers ; there was nothing 
haphazard in either the delay or the attack. The 
courage and initiative of the Minuteman are indeed 
worthy to be commemorated in bronze; but we 
must remember that his less striking qualities, his 
cool foresight, and his wise and thorough prepara- 
tion, in reality decided the day. 

In the fight and pursuit, no Concord man was 
killed. Of the town's four wounded, three were its 
captains. Immediately began the long experience 
of divided families, the sending of supplies, the care 
of the wounded. Of those who went away to death, 
the finest was William Emerson, who as chaplain 
went to Ticonderoga, sickened, and died on his way 
home. At home the two prominent men were 
Ephraim Wood and Joseph Hosmer, whose work in 
regulating the community and in gathering stores 
for the army was many times worth their possible 
services at the front. During the year of Boston's 
siege, Harvard College was located in Concord, the 
recitations being held in the Court-house and the 

[72] 



Military Affairs 

church. Concord stories of that dreary war period 
are few. Said one wary individual after the Fight, 
"For myself I think I will be neutral these times." 
His indignant neighbors took his name from the 
jury box and denied him his rights as a citizen. 
The estate of Daniel Bliss was confiscated. And 
Joseph Lee came a second time under the unfavor- 
able notice of his townsmen. He was ordered to 
keep the bounds of his own farm, being warned that 
"if he should presume to go beyond the bounds and 
should be killed, his blood be upon his own head." 

The canny doctor stayed carefully at home and 
managed to survive the war, in spite of the habit of 
his neighbors to discharge their guns in the direction 
of his house whenever the spirit moved them. 

The rest of Concord's military history is the same 
as that of all the New England towns which sent 
their men to later wars. Her glory must always 
center at the North Bridge. Yet, curiously enough, 
for a long time the place was neglected. The high- 
way was changed, the bridge removed, interest in 
the spot was suffered to lapse, and not until 1836 
was a memorial set on the spot where the British 
had stood : the weathered granite monument which, 
impressive in its plainness, bears its proud inscrip- 
tion commemorating the first forcible resistance to 

[73] 



Old Concord 

British aggression. By the wall lie buried the two 
British privates killed in the Fight, over whom for 
more than a century and a quarter there was no 
other memorial than the words "Grave of British 
Soldiers" carved on an unfinished slab. The 
present slate tablet, with the verses fronr James 
Russell Lowell's fine poem, was placed in position 
only recently. In 1875, the centennial of the Fight, 
the bridge was rebuilt, and on the farther bank, 
where the militia had stood, was erected Daniel 
Chester French's noble Minuteman. But the 
monuments subdue themselves to the landscape. 
The rustic surroundings of the bridge shade and 
soften bronze figure and granite shaft ; only in the 
spring floods does the river change its placid mood ; 
and the visitor to the scene of Concord Fight, the 
spot where America altered her destiny, is tempted 
to muse upon a scene of peace rather than to kindle 
his spirit in memory of war. 



[74] 




^^r H'f% 



Graves of British Soldiers 



Chiefly Literary 







Ill 

TO fit Concord's history with her geography, 
let us trace once more the lines of her streets, 
in order to point out the buildings of chief interest. 
Radiating, as the streets do, irregularly from the 
Square, they make it difficult for the visitor to re- 
duce them to a system, or even for Concord resi- 
dents to tell, offhand, the points of the compass. 
It is therefore better, at the opening of our chapter, 
to explain at once the general plan of the town, 
more carefully than was needed for the story of the 
Fight, yet simplified from the intricacies of modern 
Concord. With this in mind, Concord's literary 
history can be more clearly followed. So again let 
us begin at our north end of the Square. 

At the left hand, by the Court-house, we have 
already noted the beginning of Monument Street, 
which for long was the only road to towns lying to 
the north. (Lowell Road, starting at our right, is 
a short cut, generations younger.) Monument 
Street curves away over a gentle rise; it borders 

[79] 



Old Concord 

fertile meadows, so here lay some of the earliest 
farms. And here, where the old road took a sharp 
turn to the right, to meet the river, two of the an- 
cient houses face each other, — the Manse among 
its fields, and the Elisha Jones house at the foot of 
the ridge. Between them the modern highway runs 
directly onward to the later bridge. 

Again from the left hand of the Square, between 
the Town Hall and the Catholic church, starts Bed- 
ford Street, not old, but much traveled by the 
tourist on his way to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. 
Immediately behind the Town Hall is the yellow 
house in which Elizabeth Alcott died. A short 
stretch of Bedford Street, up a gentle rise, leads 
to the gate of the oldest portion of the cemetery. 
Or following the curve of Bedford Street a couple 
of hundred yards farther, one comes to the gate 
that leads to Sleepy Hollow itself. 

At the end of the Square, we have seen the be- 
ginning of Lexington Road, with Wright's Tavern 
and the Meeting-house at its right. These two 
buildings are of Revolutionary rather than of mod- 
ern interest ; unfortunately the handsome church 
is only a reproduction of the old building burned in 
1900. Opposite them stands the picturesque old 
stucco dwelling now appropriately fitted up as the 

[80] 




/■rr^'is^w-- 



"./: - x -V 

s , , 



The Old Chapter House of the D. A. R. 



Chiefly Literary 

chapter house of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution. The wide street stretches on, past 
the plain old house that now contains the collection 
of the Antiquarian Society, to the turn where still 
stands the Heywood house. Round this turn and 
past this house swept, so many years ago, the flash- 
ing battalions of King George, coming on their 
fruitless errand. As we go past this Heywood 
corner there opens up, across a gently sloping field 
to the right, the view of a white house behind a line 
of lofty pines and chestnuts. It stands near the 
road behind another screen of trees ; its plain dig- 
nity and refinement seize the attention and stir 
imagination. This is the Emerson house, sheltered 
yet approachable, pleasing with its fine background 
of fertile meadow fringed with distant trees. 

Lexington Road winds gently on, over a little 
rise where another fine old house stands below the 
ridge which, — higher or lower, but always close at 
hand, — borders the highway at the left. Beyond 
this Moore house, the road dips and sweeps a little 
to the left ; and here in a bay, as it were, of the high- 
way, and in a hollow made by a little recession of 
the hill, stands a brown house behind two great 
elms, a large house, homelike although old-fash- 
ioned, hospitable even if unoccupied. This is the 

[83] 



Old Concord 

"Orchard House" of the Alcotts, now a museum 
to their memory. The ridge rises, the trees de- 
scend and gather thickly, some even stand close 
to the road as if to hide a house that stands crowded 
between it and the hill. It is Hawthorne's "Way- 
side," which the wood seems almost to draw into 
its dark depths. The effect is carefully preserved 
by "Margaret Sidney" (Mrs. Daniel Lothrop), the 
present owner of the property. But the little 
cottage close beyond rejects the spell, its white 
cosiness defying gloom. The tablet in front of the 
enclosed trellis tells that here was bred the Concord 
grape. On winds the road below the ridge, until, 
a mile and a half from the village, the hill abruptly 
stops. Here the Great Meadows stretch into the 
distance, the road strikes out across their sunny 
width, and a tablet in the wall reminds us that 
here, at Meriam's Corner, was the field of a bloody 
encounter. 

Returning to the Square, we take the fourth street, 
the Milldam. At the end of its short length, Walden 
Street branches abruptly to the left. Speedily quit- 
ting the clustered buildings of the town, this street 
leads across a mile of Concord's level meadows until 
it begins to climb a wooded slope. The ascent is 
Brister's Hill, named for the bygone freedman 

[84] 



Chiefly Literary 

whose cabin and spring near the foot of the hill 
Thoreau described. In the woods to the left lies 
"Fairyland" with its pond, beloved in Concord 
for its natural beauty and its earliest skating. 
Members of the "Walden Pond Association" (those 
members of the literary circle of fifty years ago 
whose Sunday walks took them to nature rather 
than to church) knew "Fairyland" well. To the 
right of the road lie Walden woods, and a quarter 
of a mile farther along the road, after reaching the 
top of the rise, the view of the pond itself opens 
through the trees. Walden lies in a deep basin, 
wooded, irregular, very pleasing. It has no inlet 
and no outlet ; it is often (a natural curiosity) 
higher in summer than in spring. Except for the 
ancient settlement whose decay Thoreau chronicles, 
and a deserted picnic ground, only the naturalist 
himself has built on Walden's shores, and even his 
cabin has gone. Bathers come sometimes to Wal- 
den, or solitary fishermen ; but mostly its expanse 
is silent and deserted. To reach the cairn that 
shows the site of Thoreau's cabin, the visitor, after 
climbing Brister's Hill, should take the first road 
to the left, and turn first to the left and then to the 
right. He will find himself by the shore of Thoreau's 
cove, with the cairn above him in its little hollow. 

[8 5 ] 



Old Concord 

From the point where Walden Street began, 
Main Street continues the line of the Milldam. 
The house beyond the bank building, setting back 
from the street, tradition claims to have been a 
blockhouse; certainly the thick walls of the original 
structure were once suitable for defence. Next lies 
an old burying-ground, perhaps as ancient as the 
one upon the hill. At the fork where Sudbury 
Road branches to the left, stands the Public Library, 
a brick building of the Gothic type, soon to be re- 
modeled. Opposite, on Main Street, begins the 
series of buildings connected with the Hoar family, 
so important in Concord. And on the left of the 
street, the third house beyond Belknap, stands the 
yellow house which Thoreau rebuilt with his father, 
where he spent his last years, and where the two 
famous Alcotts, father and daughter, lived in the 
period of their own decline. Following Main Street 
farther, Thoreau Street and Nashawtuc Road meet 
at the next corner ; then Elm Street branches off, 
and leading to the river nearly a mile from the 
Square, leads also to the house inhabited by Frank 
B. Sanborn, standing on the right bank. Main 
Street itself crosses the river by the South Bridge, 
passes under the railroad track, and shows beyond 
(the second house on the right) the Alcott "Cot- 

[86] 




The Thoreau-Alcott House 



Chiefly Literary 

tage." In Little Women, this is described as Meg's 
"Dovecote"; but in fact none of the Alcotts lived 
in it except at their earliest visit to Concord. 

Such, following each road to its farthest important 
landmark, is the plan of literary Concord. If the 
visitor mentally will reduce the map of the town to 
these few elements, he will be able to follow easily 
the remainder of our story. 

The Old Manse comes nearest to connecting 
Concord's military and literary annals. For while 
it was built by the martial minister, and while from 
its windows was seen the flash of the guns at the 
bridge, it is also closely linked with the names of 
Concord writers. Its aspect would not prepare 
one for its distinction. Well withdrawn from the 
road, with its modest gambrel roof, its weather- 
beaten clapboards, its partial screen of trees and 
shrubs, the gray house, as if in melancholy brooding 
over its past, seems to retire from the wayfarer's 
gaze. It sets low ; there are no wide lawns or 
ornamental planting to challenge attention : the 
surroundings of the venerable building still recall 
the time when its fields maintained its owners. 
And that is right, for here, if anywhere, have been 
plain living and high thinking. 

Built in 1765, the Manse after eleven years passed 

[89] 



Old Concord 

to the ownership of William Emerson's widow, who 
after two more years married his successor. For 
sixty-three years Ezra Ripley ruled, as still in his 
days a minister could do, over a respectful parish. 
Simple, downright, a believer in his calling and 
himself, even in his oddities he typified the ancient 
school of which he was almost the last example. 
Openly from the pulpit, or privately to the ear of 
his parishioners, he spoke with the authority of 
his office, guided by a knowledge that did not come 
of books, and a kindness of heart that always dis- 
tinguished him. Not experienced in the ways of 
the outer world, he could be deceived by any travel- 
ing swindler ; but in the difficulties and even the 
etiquette of parochial life, no one had a clearer eye 
or surer speech. When after a return from a prison 
term a Concord man made a social call, Doctor 
Ripley received him kindly; but when a fellow 
minister appeared Doctor Ripley said to the first 
comer: "Mr. M., my brother and colleague has 
come to take tea with me. I regret very much the 
causes (which you know very well) which make it 
impossible for me to ask you to stay and break 
bread with us." 

When the highway was changed, and the old North 
Bridge removed, the abandoned road became [a field 

[90] 



Chiefly Literary 

belonging to the Manse. With this field we may as- 
sociate two stories of the good old doctor. He took 
an innocent pride in his possession of the famous 
ground, and it was his pleasure to have his hired 
man ask in the presence of guests into what field 
he would have the cow turned. "Into the battle- 
field," would be the reply, always effective in bring- 
ing conversation to the favorite subject. And it 
was perhaps in this very field that Emerson, haying 
with the old gentleman, saw his pleading, almost 
reproachful glances at the approaching thunderstorm. 

"He raked very fast, then looked at the cloud, 
and said, 'We are in the Lord's hand; mind your 
rake, George ! We are in the Lord's hand ' ; and 
seemed to say, 'You know me, this field is mine 
— Dr. Ripley's, thine own servant !'" 

The old clergyman gave back the ancient road- 
way to the town for the dedication of the monument 
of 1836, the occasion for which Emerson wrote his 
beautiful hymn, one verse of which stands engraved 
on the base of the Minuteman statue of 1875. 

Plain speech accompanied Doctor Ripley's tales 
of the parish, which no man knew better than he. 
"I remember, when a boy," says Emerson, "driving 
about Concord with him, and in passing each house 
he told the story of the family that lived in it ; and 

[91] 



Old Concord 

to the ownership of William Emerson's widow, who 
after two more years married his successor. For 
sixty-three years Ezra Ripley ruled, as still in his 
days a minister could do, over a respectful parish. 
Simple, downright, a believer in his calling and 
himself, even in his oddities he typified the ancient 
school of which he was almost the last example. 
Openly from the pulpit, or privately to the ear of 
his parishioners, he spoke with the authority of 
his office, guided by a knowledge that did not come 
of books, and a kindness of heart that always dis- 
tinguished him. Not experienced in the ways of 
the outer world, he could be deceived by any travel- 
ing swindler; but in the difficulties and even the 
etiquette of parochial life, no one had a clearer eye 
or surer speech. When after a return from a prison 
term a Concord man made a social call, Doctor 
Ripley received him kindly; but when a fellow 
minister appeared Doctor Ripley said to the first 
comer: "Mr. M., my brother and colleague has 
come to take tea with me. I regret very much the 
causes (which you know very well) which make it 
impossible for me to ask you to stay and break 
bread with us." 

When the highway was changed, and the old North 
Bridge removed, the abandoned road became ^a field 

[90] 



Chiefly Literary 

belonging to the Manse. With this field we may as- 
sociate two stories of the good old doctor. He took 
an innocent pride in his possession of the famous 
ground, and it was his pleasure to have his hired 
man ask in the presence of guests into what field 
he would have the cow turned. "Into the battle- 
field," would be the reply, always effective in bring- 
ing conversation to the favorite subject. And it 
was perhaps in this very field that Emerson, haying 
with the old gentleman, saw his pleading, almost 
reproachful glances at the approaching thunderstorm. 

"He raked very fast, then looked at the cloud, 
and said, 'We are in the Lord's hand; mind your 
rake, George! We are in the Lord's hand'; and 
seemed to say, 'You know me, this field is mine 
— Dr. Ripley's, thine own servant ! ' " 

The old clergyman gave back the ancient road- 
way to the town for the dedication of the monument 
of 1836, the occasion for which Emerson wrote his 
beautiful hymn, one verse of which stands engraved 
on the base of the Minuteman statue of 1875. 

Plain speech accompanied Doctor Ripley's tales 
of the parish, which no man knew better than he. 
"I remember, when a boy," says Emerson, "driving 
about Concord with him, and in passing each house 
he told the story of the family that lived in it ; and 

[91] 



Old Concord 

especially he gave me anecdotes about the nine 
church members who had made a division in the 
church in the time of his predecessor, and showed 
me how every one of the nine had come to a bad 
fortune or a bad end." At a certain funeral he 
spoke fearlessly to the inheritor of the family re- 
sponsibilities, a man whose temptations sometimes 
overcame him. "There is no man of this large 
family left but you ; and it rests with you to bear 
up the good name and usefulness of your ancestors. 
If you fail — Ichabod, the glory is departed ! Let 
us pray." Of sot or spendthrift, of any one in 
whose conduct there was a flaw, the doctor never 
hesitated to demand an explanation in order to cure 
the fault. 

In his little study, square, wainscoted, with the 
beams showing, he must have written thousands 
of sermons — "it is awful," says Hawthorne, "to 
reflect how many." The Manse ghost is a fiction 
of Hawthorne's, who pretended that he heard it 
sighing, or turning over sermons. "Once, while 
Hilliard and other friends sat talking with us in the 
twilight, there came a rustling noise as of a min- 
ister's silk gown, sweeping through the very midst 
of the company so closely as almost to brush against 
the chairs." 

[92] 



Chiefly Literary 

To the Manse came the young Emersons to visit 
with their step-grandfather. And it may have 
been at the door of the house that the old minister 
said to the young Ralph Waldo, on parting after a 
bereavement which had severed the last blood- 
relationship between them: "I wish you and your 
brothers to come to this house as you always have 
done. You will not like to be excluded ; I shall not 
like to be neglected." 

Consequently it was to the Manse that Emerson 
turned his steps after he had himself withdrawn 
from the ministry and was following his new for- 
tunes. "Hail," he wrote here, "to the quiet fields 
of my fathers." Here he lived ; and here he wrote 
the first of his great books, Nature. Even after 
he had left the Manse for a dwelling of his own, 
and after Doctor Ripley's death, he was still a visitor 
at the old house, where he was drawn by the enigma 
of Hawthorne's personality. 

For Hawthorne, not yet famous, had rented the 
Manse not many months after the decease of the 
old clergyman. Apparently it attracted him from 
the first, by its individuality and seclusion. He 
describes with gusto the antique character of its 
interior and furnishings, and feels secure, in its 
privacy, against the passing stranger who from the 

[ 93 ] 



Old Concord 

road could thrust his head into other domestic 
circles. Doubtless Hawthorne was attracted by 
the "most delightful little nook of a study" in the 
rear of the house, facing west and north on the 
orchard and the river, its window-panes cracked 
(tradition said by the volleys at the Fight), and its 
walls blackened by the smoke of generations. Yet 
the transformation from smoke and old woodwork 
to fresh paint and wall-paper delighted him. In 
July, 1842, he married, and (almost, immediately 
brought his bride to the Manse. 

The seclusion which he valued at first sight, he 
enjoyed through three years at the old house. Yet 
it was a seclusion into which the modern may pry. 
In the preface to the Mosses, and in the published 
Hawthorne letters and journals, we get a closer 
glimpse of his household than we can elsewhere get 
of most others. The character of bothlthe house 
and the occupants are revealed in this intimate 
writing. The cold of the winters (when the steam 
from the wash-tub froze on the servant's hair), the 
beauty of the summers, the joy in nature, and the 
more than joy in each other — these are shown in 
diary and letter. Morbid, we may think, was 
Hawthorne's shrinking from meeting with visitors. 
But this seems almost an essential part of his nature. 

[94] 




The Old Manse 



Chiefly Literary 

Hawthorne was his own workman, split the wood 
and shoveled the snow, and even, in emergencies, 
boiled the potatoes "with the air and port of a 
monarch." Whatever he did, his wife admired 
him for it, held him in reverence, would not tres- 
pass on his time. She had a pretty sense of guilt 
when the beauty of the sun after a shower made 
her call him to the window. Idealist as she was 
(indignant, for example, with the doctor for calling 
her child "red-headed"), with her many minute 
touches she draws a very fine picture of her manly 
husband, not afraid of servile duties, struggling with 
his art, waiting the slow payment for stories already 
sold and printed, fretting at debt, and yet jesting, 
as he watched her mending his old dressing-gown, 
that he was the man with the largest rents in the 
country. 

But even though Hawthorne loved solitude, the 
Manse was no hermitage. By persistent kindness 
new neighbors of the occupants made themselves 
welcome there. Emerson came often. So many 
around him were mere echoes of himself, that it 
refreshed and delighted him to find a man of such 
individuality as Hawthorne. First of all he noted 
Hawthorne's striking dignity : his aspect was regal, 
even when he handed the bread at table. And then 

[97] 



Old Concord 

his reticence charmed the philosopher, long ac- 
customed to men of ready speech, so that we see 
Emerson changed from his own oracular attitude. 

"Mr. Emerson delights in him; he talks to him 
all the time, and Mr. Hawthorne looks answers. 
He seems to fascinate Mr. Emerson. Whenever he 
comes to see him, he takes him away, so that no 
one may interrupt him in his close and dead-set 
attack upon his ear." So different were the natures 
of the two men that neither truly appreciated the 
achievements of the other; yet there was between 
them from the first a strong bond of mutual interest 
and respect. 

"It was good," wrote Hawthorne, "to meet him 
in the woodpaths, or sometimes in our avenue, with 
that pure intellectual gleam diffused about his 
presence like the garment of a shining one ; and 
he so quiet, so simple, so without pretension, en- 
countering each man alive as if he expected to re- 
ceive more than he could impart." The picture is 
unforgettable. 

Another visitor to the Manse at this time was 
Thoreau. Here were still stronger differences than 
before, for the contemplativeness of Thoreau, as 
real as that of either of his townsmen, was, as it 
were, active, busy, and inquiring. His robustness 

[98] 



Chiefly Literary 

kept him moving, and he came to the Manse not so 
much to visit Hawthorne as to tempt him out upon 
the river, where according to season they paddled 
or skated, or rode the great ice-cakes in their slug- 
gish way down-stream. Hawthorne found in him 
an honest and agreeable ugliness of countenance, 
and a wild, original nature. Mrs. Hawthorne pic- 
tures the contrast between her husband and his 
two friends when skating on the river below the 
Manse, Emerson unskilled, Thoreau "figuring 
dithyrambic dances and Bacchic leaps", and Haw- 
thorne "like a self-impelled Greek statue, stately 
and grave." The Hawthorne music-box lured 
Thoreau ; he delighted in it. The romancer pur- 
chased Thoreau's boat, and as if in mockery of the 
stream by which (he says) he lived for weeks before 
discovering which way it flowed, re-christened the 
boat the Pond-Lily. And yet one cannot find that 
the bond between the two men grew very close, in 
spite of their journeyings. Thoreau was too strenu- 
ous and abrupt for Hawthorne's more leisurely 
nature. 

It was with Ellery Channing, — poet and nature- 
lover, more of a hermit than any of these friends, 
because both less able and less willing to express him- 
self, — it was with Channing that Hawthorne took his 

[99] 



Old Concord 

greatest pleasure out of doors. And if Thoreau has 
revealed to us the spirit of Walden, Hawthorne more 
than any one else has written most intimately of the 
river, in his account of these excursions with Channing. 

"Strange and happy days were those when we 
cast aside all irksome forms and straight-laced 
habitudes, and delivered ourselves up to the free 
air, to live like Indians or any less conventional 
race during the bright semi-circle of the sun. Row- 
ing our boat against the current, between wide 
meadows, we turned aside into the Assabeth. A 
more lovely stream than this, for a mile above its 
junction with the Concord, has never flowed on 
earth, — nowhere, indeed, except to lave the in- 
terior of a poet's imagination. It is sheltered from 
the breeze by woods and a hillside ; so that else- 
where there might be a hurricane, and here scarcely 
a ripple across the shaded water. The current 
lingers along so gently that the mere force of the 
boatman's will seems sufficient to propel his craft 
against it. . . . At one point there is a lofty bank, 
on the slope of which grow some hemlocks, declining 
across the stream with arms outstretched, as if 
resolute to take the plunge. In other places the 
banks are almost level with the water; so that 
the quiet congregation of trees set their feet in the 
flood, and are fringed with foliage down to the 
surface. . . . 

"So amid sunshine and shadow, rustling leaves 
and sighing waters, up gushed our talk like the 
babble of a fountain. The evanescent spray was 
Ellery's ; and his, too, the lumps of golden thought 

[ ioo ] 



Chiefly Literary 

that lay glimmering in the fountain's bed. . . . 
But the chief profit of those wild days to him and 
me lay, not in any angular or rounded truth, which 
we dug out of the shapeless mass of problematical 
stuff, but in the freedom which we thereby won 
from all custom and conventionalism and fettering 
influences of man on man. We were so free to-day 
that it was impossible to be slaves again to-morrow. 
When we crossed the threshold of the house or trod 
the thronged pavements of a city, still the leaves of 
the trees that overhung the Assabeth were whisper- 
ing to us, 'Be free! Be free!' Therefore along 
that shady river bank there are spots, marked with 
a heap of ashes and half consumed brands, only 
less sacred in my memory than the hearth of a 
household fire." 

The hemlocks which Hawthorne here describes 
are still a feature of the river. They lie on the 
Assabet, only a little way above Egg Rock, the jut- 
ting ledge which marks the meeting of this stream 
with the Sudbury to make the Concord River. 
Near here the ancient Indian encampment stood. 
The waters of these rivers are now discolored by 
the waste from mills nearer to their sources ; but 
the banks are just as lovely, and it requires but 
little imagination to picture the old "owners of 
Musketaquid " lolling under the hoary hemlocks, 
or fishing in their shade. Under their many bridges 
the rivers glide as sleepily as when Hawthorne en- 

[IOI] 



Old Concord 

joyed their peace; and the wide meadows give 
vistas, the overhanging trees offer shady retreats, 
which still tempt nature lovers out upon the 
waters. 

To Concord came occasionally Hawthorne's more 
distant friends to search him out. Franklin Pierce, 
Hawthorne's college classmate, was the most notable 
of these. 

Except for the editing of the naval journal of his 
friend Bridge, Hawthorne's literary work while at 
the Manse was comprised in the Mosses. For a 
long time he must have been too happy to write : 
his description of his domestic contentment shows 
his marriage to have been ideal. But money mat- 
ters began to press on him, he was much troubled 
by the slightest burden of debt, and decided to 
accept a position in the customs service. His 
years at the Manse, as he glanced back at them, 
seemed to him very brief. "In fairyland there is 
no measurement of time ; and in a spot so sheltered 
from the tumult of life's ocean, three years hastened 
away with noiseless flight, as the breezy sunshine 
chases the cloud shadows across the depths of a 
still valley. . . . We gathered up our household 
goods, drank a farewell cup of tea in our pleasant 
little breakfast room, and passed forth between the 

[ 102] 




The Hemlocks 



Chiefly Literary 

tall stone gateposts as uncertain as the wandering 
Arabs where our tent might next be pitched." 

At the time when Hawthorne first came to Con- 
cord, Emerson was already widely known. Nature, 
written at the Manse, had been followed by the 
Phi Beta Kappa oration and the divinity school 
address, two public utterances which brought upon 
him the clamor of shocked conservatives, but also 
the eager and unquestioning applause of the seekers 
after new light. These last soon began to flock 
around him in his new home on Lexington Road. 

This dwelling is on the corner of the Cambridge 
Turnpike. The Emerson acres stretch for a little 
distance along this road ; one field lies across the 
brook. The house was built in the twenties by a 
well-to-do Bostonian ; it long had the distinction 
of having the only dry cellar in Concord. When 
in 1835 Emerson married for the second time, he 
purchased the vacant house ; and bringing his 
bride to it immediately after his marriage, he lived 
there until his death in 1882. The building has 
the simplicity of the best New England architec- 
ture, and its dignity also ; for the square white 
house, lacking ornament, its Doric porch-columns 
and its few moldings almost severe, stands without 
concealment or pretence. A group of noble pines 

[105] 



Old Concord 

and chestnuts, with a few younger evergreens, 
shades it from the sun ; there is no other shelter. 
If the retirement and mystery of the Manse echoes 
the character of him who made it most famous, the 
frankness of this other house, tempered always by 
the restraint of a fine self-respect, equally personifies 
its even greater occupant. Hawthorne seemed al- 
ways to withdraw ; Emerson came forward with a 
kindly welcome. 

Of all who came to that door, none has left a more 
vivid picture of the master than Howells, who as a 
young man sought his acquaintance. He describes 
the fine old man at his threshold, looking down at 
his visitor with a vague serenity. Emerson was 
then about sixty, yet scarcely showed his age in his 
face of marble youthfulness, refined to delicacy by 
his high and noble thinking. Howells felt the 
charm of Emerson's eyes, shyer, sweeter, and less 
sad than the similarly charming glance of Lincoln. 
The smile was indeed incomparably sweet, with 
a quaintness, gravity, and archness which Howells 
was baffled to describe. 

This inscrutableness of Emerson's was a quality 
inseparable from his insight; but as Howells well 
understood, it was inseparable also from his kindli- 
ness. These qualities showed visibly in his gentle 

[106] 



Chiefly Literary 

smile, which endeared him to the young people of 
the village. Says Hawthorne's daughter, speaking of 
her childhood : 

"My earliest remembered glimpse of him was 
when he appeared — tall, side-slanting, peering with 
almost undue questioning into my face, but with a 
smile so constant as to seem almost an added feature, 
dressed in a solemn, slender, dark overcoat — upon 
the Concord high-road. ... It then became one of 
my happiest experiences to pass Emerson upon the 
street. A distinct exaltation followed my glance 
into his splendid face." 

And Louisa Alcott has told of her enthusiasm for 
Emerson, how she brought him offerings of flowers, 
and sang to him ("a la Bettina", but modestly un- 
heard) outside his window. 

The interior of the house has often been described. 
Its famous study, to the right of the front door, con- 
tains neither desk nor desk chair; it has the ap- 
pearance of an ordinary sitting-room, except that 
one side is lined to the ceiling with books on simple 
shelves. Yet it is here that Emerson wrote all the 
books which he published after the year 1835. 
Sitting in his simple rocker, his writing-pad on his 
knee, he culled from his many journals, or from 
his own retentive memory, the golden sentences 

[ 107] 



Old Concord 

which go to make the treasury of his collected 
essays. It must be remembered that Emerson was 
in one sense never a student. Books were to him 
but starting places or stimuli for his thought ; his 
essays and lectures were slow accretions around an 
original idea ; and the men and women about him, 
life and nature as he read them, were more to him 
than printed pages. So he had no need of the 
paraphernalia of the student. He seldom quoted. 
His books are full of native and homely illustrations 
that serve to mark one difference between him, our 
great thinker, and all the philosophers whom Europe 
and Asia had produced. 

The study is very simply decorated. In one 
corner stands the bust of a dear friend. On the 
walls are photographs and engravings, some of them 
mementoes of European acquaintances. Over the 
black marble fireplace hangs an oil copy of Michel- 
angelo's "Fates", a symbolic picture which could 
not be more appropriately hung. The furniture is 
of a good New England period. The room is bright ; 
it expresses, as does the house, the large simplicity 
and unvarying cheerfulness of the man who for so 
many years inhabited it. 

In one other Concord house did Emerson do his 
writing, the Antiquarian house, then a boarding- 

[108] 




In Emerson's Study 



Chiefly Literary 

house to which he escaped when the press of wor- 
shipping Transcendentalists broke in too much 
upon his time. 

Behind the Emerson house spread its gardens, 
where in his earlier period Emerson used to work. 
Then occurred that friendly rivalry between him- 
self and his wife of which he so quaintly tells : did 
he plant vegetables, flowers came up in their places. 
Mrs. Emerson was a lover of gardens ; she brought 
with her from Plymouth many of her favorite plants, 
and year by year gave their descendants about in the 
village, — a neighborly habit followed by her admi- 
rable daughter, so that many Concord gardens have 
come, in part, from this Emersonian enclosure. 
But it was not Mrs. Emerson who drove her hus- 
band from the work of gardening. He did not love 
it. His little Waldo, anxiously watching his father 
at work, cried, "Papa, I am afraid you'll dig your 
leg !" The philosopher has given us his own ac- 
count of the interminableness of the pursuit of 
weeds. The labor fatigued him. And his con- 
clusion is summed up in the pithy sentence : "The 
writer shall not dig." 

But if we cannot associate Emerson with his 
garden, except in this negative fashion, we may 
remember that Thoreau has been busy all about the 

[in] 



Old Concord 

place. He lived at different periods in the Emer- 
son family, where his aptness at work of all kinds 
was constantly apparent, and where his host felt 
great relief at this saving of his labor. Alcott came 
with assistance of a thoroughly characteristic and 
less practical kind. At the left of the barn, within 
a circle of pines which still stands there, the con- 
versationalist built what was intended for a rural 
study for Emerson, constructed, as was Alcott's 
way, out of crooked roots and boughs which it was 
his delight to find in the woods. This material so 
dominated the architecture that Thoreau, who as- 
sisted as capable of driving nails to stay, com- 
plained that he felt as if he were nowhere doing 
nothing. As a study the draughty and mosquito- 
haunted building was a failure ; even its undeniable 
beauty did not last long, for in order to be pictu- 
resque, its thatch curved upward at the eaves, and 
the whole soon rotted away. 

In contrast we may think of the simple gift of 
Thoreau's elder brother. "John Thoreau, Jr., one 
day put a blue-bird's box on my barn, — fifteen 
years ago, it must be, — and there it still is, with 
every summer a melodious family in it, adorning 
the place and singing his praises. There's a gift 
for you which cost the giver no money, but nothing 

[H2] 



Chiefly Literary 

which he bought could have been so good." The 
blue-bird box has lasted until destroyed by a spring 
gale of the present year. 

Emerson's townsmen appreciated him. " Sam " 
Staples called him a "first rate neighbor and one 
who always kept his fences up." The attempt to 
blackmail him by moving an unsightly building 
on to the lot before his house met with a prompt 
response when the young men of the town came in 
the night and pulled it down. One Concord 
woman, when asked, "Do you understand Mr. 
Emerson ?" to one of whose lectures she was going, 
replied : "Not a word, but I like to go and see him 
stand up there and look as if he thought every one 
was as good as he was." But a neighboring farmer, 
who said that he had heard all of Mr. Emerson's 
Lyceum lectures, added: "and understood 'em, 
too." And unforgettable is the picture of Concord 
welcoming Emerson returning from Europe to the 
house which his neighbors, after its fire, had helped 
more distant friends to rebuild. They erected for 
him a triumphal arch, cheered as he passed under 
it, and accompanied him to his gate. No wonder 
that his emotion choked him, nor that when he 
could control his voice he spoke of their common 
blood — "one family — in Concord." 

[US] 



Old Concord 

When it came time for Emerson to die, his work 
had been done, and well done. Over the whole of 
the land his uplifting message had taken its full 
effect. He was a great force during the Civil War. 
He guided millions of young men and women on 
their way. Those who had never heard his name 
knew his message; and the present generation 
is the wiser and happier for the spread of his 
spoken and written word. In America, but not in 
America alone, he stands unique in his influence. 
When in the spring of 1882 he died, not his town 
only, but the whole world, mourned. 

The constancy of Emerson to his ancestral town 
is in contrast to the goings and comings of Alcott, 
at least for a number of years after he first fre- 
quented Concord. The prospect of Emerson's 
neighborhood brought him to the town, where 
first, before his unfortunate "Fruitlands" venture, 
he lived in the "Cottage", sometimes called the 
Hosmer Cottage, on Main Street beyond the rail- 
road bridge. The place, though small, was com- 
plete with its numerous little rooms, its barn and 
sheds. Except for the disappearance of the barn, 
and the addition of a mansard roof, it looks the 
same to-day, modestly brown, unobtrusive, and 
comfortable. In this house were written many of 

[114] 




The Alcott " Cottage " (1840-18 42) on Main Street 



Chiefly Literary 

the charming early letters of Alcott to his children, 
which, some of them in facsimile to show his draw- 
ings or his lettering, have lately been published in 
such attractive form. And from this house Alcott 
started on his journey to England, turning at the 
door to say to his wife that he might have forgotten 
to pay for his new suit of clothes, which, however, 
she would attend to, of course. 

And the patient woman was wondering how she 
could feed her family until his return ! 

The result of his journey was the unlucky "Fruit- 
lands" experiment, which sent the Alcotts back to 
Concord at the very lowest point of their fortune. 
The coming of a legacy, however, with some help 
from Emerson, enabled them to buy the house 
which Alcott named "Hillside", now known as 
Hawthorne's "Wayside." A "mean-looking af- 
fair" the house was when bought, but Alcott im- 
mediately enlarged and improved it. He made 
terraces on the slope behind the house, planting 
with grapes and beautifying with summer-houses 
built in his favorite style of rustic architecture. 
And for three years this was the home of the 
happiest part of Louisa Alcott's childhood. 

She herself has given some pictures of its fun. 
One day Emerson and Margaret Fuller came to 

[ii7] 



Old Concord 

call. They discussed Alcott's advanced theories of 
education, and Miss Fuller said : 

'"Well, Mr. Alcott, you have been able to carry 
out your methods in your own family, and I should 
like to see your model children.' 

"She did in a few moments, for as the guests 
stood on the door steps a wild uproar approached, 
and round the corner of the house came a wheel- 
barrow holding baby May arrayed as a queen ; I 
was the horse, bitted and bridled and driven by my 
elder sister Anna, while Lizzie played dog and 
barked as loud as her gentle voice permitted. 
- "All were shouting and wild with fun which, 
however, came to a sudden end as we espied the 
stately group before us, for my foot tripped, and 
down we all went in a laughing heap, while my 
mother put a climax to the joke by saying with a 
dramatic wave of the hand : 

"'Here are the model children, Miss Fuller.'" 

These were the famous days of the Alcott dramat- 
ics. Their means were of the simplest ; costumes and 
stage fittings were home-made; even the dramas 
themselves were often written by the girls. Mrs. 
Alcott actively assisted, the philosopher placidly 
approved, and the wholesome circle of girls and boys 
which the four Alcott children speedily drew round 
themselves eagerly helped in anything that was 
undertaken. No reader of Little Women needs any 
further description of this feature of life at Hillside. 

[118] 



Chiefly Literary 

No one ever left in Concord pleasanter memories 
than the four Alcott sisters. In character they 
varied widely. Anna, the oldest, was domestic 
and thoughtful, a good home-maker ; yet she had 
a share of Louisa's ability with her pen, wrote 
quite as many of the home-made dramas, has left 
fine letters, and it was she (not Louisa) who pinned 
inside a journal the manuscript of a story of her 
own, which she read aloud to the family, receiving 
their hearty approval. Louisa was the tomboy, 
ready for any prank; she was also ambitious and 
a hard worker, with a special bent for writing which 
for many years went unrewarded. Elizabeth was 
gentle and sweet, of a constitution not weak, but 
later broken by a severe attack of scarlet fever 
brought by the mother's devotion to her work 
among the poor. May, the youngest daughter, 
had some of Louisa's adventurousness ; she rode 
recklessly when at rare intervals she could secure 
a mount. Her talent was artistic, and was de- 
votedly improved ; she is famous for her copies of 
Turner. She possessed a large share of the Alcott 
quality of generosity, and gave practical help to 
struggling beginners. Together, these four made a 
household that naturally attracted the young folk 
of their town. 

[119] 



Old Concord 

But no one in the Alcott household could fail of ac- 
quaintance with the serious side of life. It may have 
seemed romantic to shelter fugitive slaves. "My 
first pupil," wrote Miss Alcott, "was a very black 
George Washington whom I taught to write on the 
hearth with charcoal, his big fingers finding pen and 
pencil unmanageable." Yet the same qualities which 
led Alcott to take this noble risk, brought him also, 
and frequently, to the edge of pennilessness. The fam- 
ily shared its dinner with all who came to ask. They 
took in some sickly wayfarers with the result that the 
whole family caught small-pox. True, once at least 
the family generosity was almost immediately justified. 

"One snowy Saturday night," writes Miss Alcott, 
"when our wood was very low, a poor child came to 
beg a little, as the baby was sick and the father on 
a spree with all his wages. My mother hesitated 
at first, as we had also a baby. Very cold weather 
was upon us, and a Sunday to be got through before 
more wood could be had. My father said, 'Give 
half our stock, and trust in Providence ; the weather 
will moderate, or wood will come.' Mother laughed, 
and answered in her cheery way, 'Well, their need is 
greater than ours, and if our half gives out, we can 
go to bed and tell stories.' So a generous half went 
to the poor neighbor, and a little later in the eve, 
when the storm still raged and we were about to 
cover our fire to keep it, a knock came, and a farmer 
who usually supplied us appeared, saying anxiously, 

[ 120] 



Chiefly Literary 

' I started for Boston with a load of wood, but it 
drifts so I want to go home. Wouldn't you like to 
have me drop the wood here ; it would accommodate 
me, and you needn't hurry about paying for it.' 
' Yes,' said father ; and as the man went off he 
turned to mother with a look that much impressed 
us children with his gifts as a seer, ' Didn't I tell you 
wood would come if the weather did not moderate ? ' 
Mother's motto was, 'Hope, and keep busy,' and 
one of her sayings, ' Cast your bread upon the waters, 
and after many days it will come back buttered.' " 

With such a husband, lovable but unworldly, 
Mrs. Alcott needed these mottoes. Though Emerson 
often acted as a Providence, the family was fre- 
quently on short commons. But nothing could 
shake their belief in its head, nor, for that matter, 
did Emerson waver in his admiration of his friend. 
He wrote, "Once more for Alcott it may be said that 
he is sincerely and necessarily engaged to his task, 
and not wilfully or ostentatiously or pecuniarily." 

And Staples, the jailer, gave a similar tribute 
when he said after he had arrested Alcott for re- 
fusal to pay his poll-tax as a protest against the 
laws : " I vum, I believe it was nothin' but principle, 
for I never heard a man talk honester." 

It was inevitable, however, that the family should 
get deeper and deeper into difficulties. "The trials 
of life began about this time," wrote Miss Alcott, 

[121] 



Old Concord 

"and my happy childhood ended." The house 
which saw so much merriment saw also the two older 
sisters learning to appreciate the burden which lay 
upon their mother, the duties which they them- 
selves could not escape. Mrs. Alcott's anxieties 
so preyed upon her that a Boston friend, coming 
to call, found her unable to conceal the traces of 
recent tears. " Abby Alcott," demanded the visitor, 
"what does this mean ?" The story being told, she 
offered Mrs. Alcott employment in Boston. 

As was usual, the proposal was taken to the fam- 
ily council. In Boston the father could find more 
chance to make money; the two older girls were 
able to teach. "It was an anxious council," wrote 
Miss Alcott many years after, "and always pre- 
ferring action to discussion, I took a brisk run over 
the hill and then settled down for 'a good think' in 
my favorite retreat. It was an old cart-wheel, 
half hidden in grass under the locusts where I used 
to sit to wrestle with my sums. ... I think I 
began to shoulder my burden then and there." 

That burden she took to Boston, and nine years 
later she brought it back again. Let any one who 
supposes Miss Alcott's life was happy, read care- 
fully her letters and journals of those years. There 
was drudgery at the housekeeping, uncongenial 

[ 122] 



Chiefly Literary 

teaching, humiliation from unkind employers, and 
always the disappointment of continual failure in 
the work for which she felt herself best fitted. 
Gradually she came to know that if prosperity was 
to be won for the family, it must be by her alone. 
By his famous, but not profitable, "conversations" 
her father could never hope to keep the family even 
in bread and butter. With this knowledge, then, 
in 1857 she came back to Concord, weighed down 
also by anxiety for the life of her sister. 

In Concord, Elizabeth Alcott died, and in Sleepy 
Hollow cemetery she lies buried. Louisa, who had 
interrupted her work to nurse her dying sister, now 
took it up again. Her sister Anna's engagement 
seemed at first only another bereavement: "I 
moaned in private," says her journal, "over my 
great loss." But fifteen years afterward she wrote, 
"Now that John is dead, I can truly say we all 
had cause to bless the day he came into the family ; 
for we gained a son and brother, and Anna the 
best husband ever known." Her writing of imagina- 
tive and even lurid tales prospered somewhat; but 
she was writing for a market that seldom pays well. 
She wrote a short play, which was produced without 
either success or failure ; she taught again ; she tried 
again the pleasures of dramatics in Concord. The 

[ 123 ] 



Old Concord 

approach of the country toward its years of trial 
found her intensely interested ; and when at last 
the war broke out, she was anxious to serve as a 
nurse. 

The family was now living in the "Orchard 
House." "Hillside" had been sold to Mr. Haw- 
thorne. The old house on the new land had been 
considered useless ; but Mr. Alcott proved its 
timbers to be still sound, and repaired it according 
to his fancy. The few odd external ornaments and 
the many individual conveniences inside are of his 
invention. His daughters did the painting and 
papering, and May devised and executed the charm- 
ing decorations which still are there. As to the 
furnishings, it is pleasant to know that their sim- 
plicity, so little in agreement with the fussy taste 
of the day, but quite in accord with modern ideas, 
arose as much from Alcott good sense as from 
Alcott poverty. The great elms in front were the 
chief beauty of the place ; the orchard, in which 
the whole family took great pleasure, has since 
disappeared. It is natural that, with the wide 
changes in their older home, all the early Alcott 
traditions should cluster around this place. Its 
simple aspect and comfortable proportions speak of 
home and hospitality. 

[ 124] 




:i»«T — .... 



Orchard House, Home of the Alcotls 



Chiefly Literary 

From this house Miss Alcott departed when she 
received her call to go to the front. "We had all," 
she says, "been full of courage till the last moment 
came ; then we all broke down. I realized that I 
had taken my life in my hand, and might never see 
them all again. I said, 'Shall I stay, Mother ?' as 
I hugged her close. 'No, go ! and the Lord be with 
you!' answered the Spartan woman; and till I 
turned the corner she bravely smiled and waved 
her wet handkerchief on the doorstep." It proved 
that Miss Alcott had indeed taken her life in her 
hand. A period of arduous nursing resulted in an 
attack of typhoid pneumonia, which forever took 
away her elasticity. From that period the physical 
joy of life departed. 

And yet the Alcott success, so long worked for, 
was now at hand. Her father had already received 
the approval of his town, by being appointed super- 
intendent of the public schools. His daughter now 
wrote her Hospital Sketches, which were well re- 
ceived by the public. She felt that at last she had 
found her vein and could be sure of herself. Her 
powers and her reputation slowly grew, until at 
last she wrote in her diary : 

"September, 1867. — Niles, partner of Roberts, 
asked me to write a girls' book. Said I'd try." 

[127] 



Old Concord 

She tried. The result was Little Women. 

What would appear to be the first half of the 
book was written at the Orchard House in the spring 
and early summer of 1868. "I plod away," she 
wrote, "though I don't like this sort of thing. Never 
liked girls or knew many, except my sisters ; but our 
queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, 
though I doubt it." 

No wonder that, years afterward, she wrote 
against this entry in her journal, "Good joke." 
The publisher's test of the book was made by giv- 
ing the manuscript into the hands of a girl whose 
absorbed interest, whose laughter and tears, were 
sufficient proof of its quality. The second part of the 
book was begun in November. "Girls write to ask 
who the little women marry, as if that was the 
only end and aim of a woman's life. I won't marry 
Jo to Laurie to please any one." 

And so at last the "pathetic family," as she 
called it, came into its own. She might, in a letter 
home, crow about "the Alcotts, who can't make 
money." Her "rumpled soul" was soothed by the 
thought (and in it we can see the extent of her 
absorption in her family) that "we made our own 
money ourselves." 

But the cost was very great. The drain of over- 

[128] 



Chiefly Literary 

work and the habit of industry often made mere 
existence a burden. Though from this time her 
books for young people were the delight of the 
nation, she wrote with continual weariness. 1 Yet 
no hint of this feeling crept into her pages, or dulled 
the vivacity of her tales. The habit of daily heroism 
prevented. 

Through childhood, Miss Alcott had longed for a 
room of her own. She had received it at "Hill- 
side." Her father, all through his life till now, had 
wished to found a School of Philosophy, and now 
at last it was made possible. At one side of the 
Alcott place, well to the left of Orchard House as 
one views it from the road, was built the simple 
but not unpicturesque building which in the sum- 
mer of 1880 delighted Alcott's heart with its school 
of thirty pupils and its many more visitors. There 
was much lecturing ; the town and the country were 
amused ; and Miss Alcott, not for the first time, in 
the midst of the extra work which he threw upon 
her, derived innocent entertainment from her guile- 
less father. The school existed for only a few 
years. The building has been removed, and its 
influence has departed; but it was for more than 
twenty years one of the Concord sights. 

Louisa Alcott's burdens began to grow too great 

[ 129] 



Old Concord 

for her. Her mother had died ; her sister May, 
after the short term of her European marriage, 
died also, and sent to Concord the baby daughter 
to be her aunt's solace and care. The little family 
moved to the Thoreau house on Main Street, where 
they lived with the widowed sister. Here, or in 
Boston where she also used to stay, with difficulty 
Miss Alcott finished her remaining stories. Many 
claims on her sympathy and purse came to her, 
often from perfect strangers, and in her nervous 
state these kept her at work. But her father was 
placid to the end. The big study which was built 
for him still contains his books and his many jour- 
nals ; the pictures and furnishings of the house still 
speak the Alcott taste; and the simplicity of the 
building reminds of the plain virtues of a family 
at which we can only wonder. They passed away. 
Alcott died in Boston on March 4, 1888. On the 
morning of his funeral his famous daughter, then 
living at her physician's in Roxbury, followed him 
to rest. 

Of the Alcott family, the world remembers two 
for their achievements. Their town remembers 
more. For patience and hard work in difficulties, 
for unwavering purpose in developing their talents, 
for strong family feeling, a brave front to the world, 

[ 130] 



Chiefly Literary 

neighborliness, and ungrudging generosity, in Con- 
cord the Alcotts will never be forgotten. 

We have seen that Alcott's "Hillside" became the 
property of Hawthorne, who changed its name to 
"Wayside." After seven years spent away from 
Concord, chiefly in Salem, Lenox, and West Newton, 
Hawthorne returned, in 1852, and occupied the 
house, unchanged in form from Alcott's day. A 
letter of his wife describes her arrival in advance of 
his, the drying of mattresses wet while moving, 
the nailing down of the carpet lining, and the "ad- 
mirable effect" of the woodwork, "painted in oak." 
He enjoyed the place, cut his beanpoles in the 
woods, sold his hay, was rather unappreciative of 
his farming land across the road, and rightly antici- 
pated that his waste land on the hilltop behind 
would yield him the true interest on his investment. 
Alcott's terraces he let grow up with trees. And 
perhaps remembering his own vision, as expressed 
in one of his prefaces, expecting here to see it ful- 
filled, he named the place "Wayside." He had 
written : " I sat down by the wayside of life, like a 
man under enchantment, and a shrubbery sprang 
up around me, and the bushes grew to be saplings, 
and the saplings became trees, until no exit ap- 
peared possible, through the entangling depths of 

[I3i] 



Old Concord 

my obscurity." And truly the vision pictures his 
mental life at this place. 

Hawthorne's great books were not written in Con- 
cord. All he accomplished in his first tenancy of the 
new house was Tanglewood Tales, and a campaign 
biography of his friend Pierce. We know that at this 
time his health was good, that he picnicked in the 
woods with his family, and saw his neighbors as little 
as he could. He had no plans for going away ; but 
Pierce's election to the Presidency led to the offer of 
the consulate at Liverpool, and Hawthorne accepted 
it. He left in 1853, not to return until the sum- 
mer of i860. He brought for his final sojourn a wide 
acquaintance with people, which at last made him 
accustomed to meet strangers. His new book, the 
Marble Faun, had placed him at the summit of his 
fame. But his physical health had broken. 

Coming with many literary plans, he wished to 
secure himself a quiet study. So besides other 
alterations he built the "tower" which is the strik- 
ing feature of "Wayside." Different as the house 
is from the Manse in its lack of seclusion, the tower 
nevertheless gives a certain suggestion of inaccessi- 
bility. Besides, the mysterious woods creep close. 
Even here there is that romantic aloofness which 
Hawthorne's nature always created. 

[ 132] 




Hawthorne's " Wayside 



Chiefly Literary 

In the house, the tower-study is the strongest 
reminder of him. "A staircase, narrow and steep," 
wrote his son, "ascends through the floor, the open- 
ing being covered by a sort of gabled structure, to 
one end of which a standing desk was affixed ; a 
desk table was placed against the side. The room 
was about twenty feet square, with four gables, 
and the ceiling, instead of being flat, was a four- 
sided vault, following the conformation of the roof. 
There were five windows, the southern and eastern 
ones' opening upon a flat tin roof, upon which one 
might walk or sit in suitable weather. The walls 
were papered with paper of a light golden hue, 
without figures. There was a closet for books on 
each side of the northern window, which looked 
out upon the hill. A small fireplace, to which a 
stove was attached, was placed between the two 
southern windows. The room was pleasant in 
autumn and spring; but in winter the stove ren- 
dered the air stifling, and in summer the heat of 
the sun was scarcely endurable. Hawthorne, how- 
ever, spent several hours a day in his study, and 
it was there that the Old Home was written, and 
Septimius Felton, and Dr. Grimshawe, and the 
Dolliver fragment." 

Howells, coming on the same visit on which he 

[135] 



Old Concord 

saw Emerson, called also upon Hawthorne at "Way- 
side," and has given a pleasant picture of the great 
romancer. But Alcott, living next door, has his 
own word to say of his neighbor's shyness and de- 
sire to avoid notice. The truth was that though 
his consular experiences had fitted Hawthorne to 
meet people when necessary, the natural gloom of 
his nature was pressing on him now, accentuated 
by both his own declining health and the great 
crisis through which the nation was passing. Pierce, 
to whose administration was laid the blame of the 
coming of the Civil War, was very unpopular ; and 
as Pierce's friend, Hawthorne felt the situation 
keenly. Brooding, he found himself unfit for work. 
He retired often to his hilltop toward the close of 
the day; and pacing up and down along the crest, 
he wore the path of which the traces still exist. 
His daughter wrote: "We could catch sight of him 
going back and forth up there, with now and then 
a pale blue gleam of sky among the trees, against 
which his figure passed clear. . . . Along this 
path in spring huddled pale blue violets, of a blue 
that held sunlight, pure as his own eyes. . . . My 
father's violets were the wonder of the year for us." 
His literary motives in these last years were in 
part connected with his house. Thoreau had told 

[136] 



Chiefly Literary 

him that it had once been inhabited by a man who 
believed he should never die. The idea took hold 
of Hawthorne, and he seemed unable to escape from 
it. From England he had brought the motive of a 
bloody footstep. Both of these he wrought into 
Septimius Felton, the scene of which was laid in the 
house and (as we have seen) on the hilltop behind. 
Earthly immortality was to have taken a large part 
in the Dolliver Romance, which he began, and the 
first part of which he published, but which was never 
finished. For Hawthorne's own death was drawing 
near. 

His decline came visibly. His once black hair 
began to turn white. He was thinner, paler, stooped 
a little, and his vigorous step became slow. A trip 
toward the south bringing him only the shock of the 
sudden death of his companion, he started with 
Pierce to the White Mountains. And it is ap- 
propriate that of him, who dwelt so persistently 
upon the idea of death, we should have two clear 
pictures of his children's farewells. 

"A few days before he and Pierce set forth," wrote 
his son, " I came up to Concord from Cambridge to 
make some requests of him. I remained only an 
hour, having to take the afternoon train back to 
college. He was sitting in the bedroom upstairs ; my 
mother and my two sisters were there also. It was 

[ 137] 



Old Concord 

a pleasant morning in early May. I made my 
request (whatever it was) and, after listening to the 
ins and outs of the whole matter, he acceded to it. 
I had half anticipated refusal, and was the more 
gratified. I said good-by, and went to the door, 
where I stood a moment looking back into the room. 
He was standing at the foot of the bed, leaning 
against it, and looking at me with a smile. He had 
on his old dark coat ; his hair was almost wholly 
white, and he was very pale. But the expression of 
his face was one of beautiful kindness, — the gladness 
of having done me a pleasure, and perhaps something 
more, that I did not then know of." 

His daughter described him as he left for his 
journey. "Like a snow image of an unbending 
but an old, old man, he stood for a moment gazing 
at me. My mother sobbed, as she walked be- 
side him to the carriage. We have missed him in 
the sunlight, in the storm, in the twilight, ever 
since." 

Hawthorne never returned from his journey. He 
died at Plymouth, New Hampshire, in the night of 
May 18-19, 1864, peacefully in his sleep. His 
body lies buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery. Among 
his trees near "Wayside" a simple memorial was 
erected to him on the centenary of his birth. 

Beyond "Wayside", and close at hand, stands 
the little cottage of Ephraim Wales Bull, the orig- 

[138] 



Chiefly Literary 

inator of the Concord grape. He came to Con- 
cord to carry on his trade of a gold-beater ; he had 
a little workshop and kept several workmen. But 
as time went on, his taste for horticulture caused 
him to interrupt the more lucrative business for 
the pursuit of a favorite desire, the breeding of a 
grape which should be earlier and hardier than 
any then in cultivation, since the grapes of his 
day, chief among them the Catawba and Isabella, 
gave very poor results in New England. He had 
the patience and skill of the true originator. Find- 
ing in his grounds a wild grape of somewhat superior 
flavor, he crossed it with the Isabella, and saved 
the fruit. "I put these grapes," he said, "whole, 
into the ground, skin and all, at a depth of two 
inches, about the first of October, after they had 
thoroughly ripened, and covered the row with 
boards. I nursed these seedlings for six years, and 
of the large number only one proved worth the 
saving. On the ioth of September, 1849, I was 
enabled to pick a bunch of grapes, and when I 
showed them to a neighbor, who tasted them, he 
at once exclaimed, 'Why, this is better than the 
Isabella!'" 

From this grape, which he named the Concord, 
Bull gained fame, and but very little money. He 

[ 139] 



Old Concord 

had not the business knowledge of the nurserymen, 
into whose pockets passed most of the profits from 
this and other grapes which the horticulturist bred. 
The result was that he died in poverty, though 
never neglected. He held as a result of his reputa- 
tion several elective or appointive offices, and was 
always much respected. Personally he was a man 
of oddities. He had a formidable temper; oc- 
casionally at the Hawthornes' could be heard the 
distant sound of his tremendous wrath. When in 
public life, he wore a silk hat, shaved carefully, and 
wore a wig of glossy yellow-brown hair. But when 
he retired, "a transformation occurred almost as 
startling as those in a theatre, and he appeared as 
an aged man with snow white beard, nearly bald, 
oftenest seen in a dressing gown and little black 
silk cap, tending his plants lovingly." He died in 
1895 and is buried near his famous neighbor. The 
best memorial of him is the ancient original grape- 
vine, still to be seen by its trellis, near the little 
Grapevine Cottage. 

Lexington Road leads on to Meriam's Corner, 
where the tablet in the wall marks the beginning 
of the running fight with the British. From this 
place one can almost see, up the old road to Bed- 
ford and beyond the Meriam homestead, the site 

[ 140] 







Academy Lane 



Chiefly Literary 

of Thoreau's birthplace. But the house has been 
moved away, and indeed it would be difficult to 
limit one's memories of Thoreau's early years to 
the confines of a house. His strong taste for an 
outdoor life possessed him through his youth, and 
steadily growing stronger after his college days, 
at last made it impossible for him to live the 
conventional life. He did indeed make the first 
venture common to the young college graduate — 
school-teaching. In the old schoolhouse on the 
Square he tried this profession, though on the new 
principle of avoiding corporal punishment. But 
for those days this was too ideal. The school com- 
mittee complained. Thoreau tried their method by 
whipping a half dozen scholars on the same day, 
and that night sent in his resignation because his 
arrangements had been interfered with. He then 
taught with his brother John in the new Concord 
Academy, the site of which is recalled by the name 
of the street on which it stood, Academy Lane. 
Here, though he was happier, he was not free, and 
so turned away from the work. 

His life at the Emerson house allowed him the 
desultory employment which he preferred, giving 
him time to himself. But as more and more he 
desired complete independence, so he experimented 

[ 143 ] 



Old Concord 

toward the means for it. He found that by a few 
weeks' labor in the year (oftenest at surveying) he 
could satisfy his simple needs : plain food, service- 
able clothes, a book or two, and nothing more. It 
must not be supposed that he ever desired to eman- 
cipate himself from human society; he enjoyed it 
too much, and never made a move toward avoiding 
his friends. Indeed, in spite of his strong taste for 
solitude, he had an equally strong affection for his 
family and his town. Concord was enough for him 
to judge the world by. When once, while he was 
still a boy, his mother suggested that some day he 
would buckle on his knapsack and roam abroad, 
his eyes filled with tears, and he was comforted only 
by his sister's saying : "No, Henry, you shall not go ; 
you shall stay at home and live with us." Stay at 
home in one sense he did not, yet in another sense he 
did. He was never long happy away from Concord. 
So when in 1845 he made his famous experiment 
at Walden, he did not mean entirely to escape from 
society. He knew very well the shortest route 
home, and often took it. "I went to the woods," he 
wrote, "because I wished to live deliberately, to 
front only the essential facts of life, and see if I 
could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I 
came to die, discover that I had not lived." 

[ 144] 



Chiefly Literary 

Walden, which lies by road less than two miles 
from Concord village, is an irregular pond of some 
sixty-four acres, now, as then, completely sur- 
rounded by woods. Campers and the railroad 
have brought fires to the woodland, and the gipsy 
moth has necessitated much cutting; therefore the 
pond is not so beautiful as in Thoreau's day. But 
the dominating bluffs are the same, and the place 
seems still remote. Here on Emerson's land, above 
a placid cove, Thoreau built the hut whose site is 
marked by the cairn of stones ; the boards he bought 
from an Irishman's shanty; Alcott, Hawthorne, 
Curtis, and others helped him to erect the frame; 
the furnishings he largely made himself, and he 
settled there before summer. His steadiest em- 
ployment was on the beanfield which he planted 
near the road ; his real pursuit was in observing the 
life of the fields and woods. 

"Snakes," said Emerson, "coiled round his leg, 
the fishes swam into his hand, and he took them 
out of the water; he pulled the woodchuck out of 
his hole by the tail, and took the foxes under his 
protection from the hunters." Once, when a spar- 
row alighted on his shoulder, he felt it "a greater 
honor than any epaulet he could have worn." He 
studied the fish, the loons on the lake, the ants in 

[145] 



Old Concord 

his woodpile. In the pages of his Walden, and in 
his later essays, these things are charmingly re- 
flected. 

Friends came to see him at his hut. He speaks 
oftenest of Channing and Alcott, but others came 
as well, not always to his satisfaction. To such as 
did not know when their visit had ended, he gave a 
broad hint by leaving them, answering them "from 
greater and greater remoteness." 

It is fairly certain that the hut at Walden was a 
station for the underground railway. "It offers 
advantages," he wrote, "which it may not be good 
policy to divulge." But whether or not Thoreau 
harbored slaves here, we have a picture of him in 
this employment at a later period. "I sat and 
watched the singular and tender devotion of the 
scholar to the slave. He must be fed, his swollen 
feet bathed, and he must think of nothing but rest. 
Again and again this coolest and calmest of men 
drew near to the trembling negro, and bade him feel 
at home, and have no fear that any power should 
again wrong him. He could not walk this day, 
but must mount guard over the fugitive." 

During his Walden period, Thoreau had his brief 
experience with the law. Like Alcott at an earlier 
day, he had refused to pay his poll-tax, in protest 

[146] 




Thoreau's Cairn at Walden 



Chiefly Literary 

against the Mexican War. Going to the village to 
have a shoe mended, he was arrested and put in 
jail, where Emerson hastened to him. 

"Henry, why are you here ?" 

"Why are you not here ?" was Thoreau's re- 
joinder. He took his imprisonment calmly, was 
interested in the new experience, placidly accepted 
his release on the morrow because some one had paid 
his fine, and presently was leading a huckleberry 
party to a hilltop from which "the State was no- 
where to be seen." 

Thoreau left Walden at the end of two years, and 
lived at the Emerson house for nearly two years 
more, during part of which the philosopher was in 
Europe. Then for the rest of his life, Thoreau lived 
in the house which his father, with his aid, rebuilt 
on the main street. Literary success came to him; 
he was widely known, and had new congenial ac- 
quaintances. But he still lived an individual life. 
He tramped the fields as he had always done, fre- 
quented farmhouses in his study of human nature, 
led the children to the woods, or, in the village 
street, made them hear the vireo's song which till 
then they had not noticed. He interested himself, 
but only spasmodically, in his father's pencil-mak- 
ing, which was done in the ell of the house. Hav- 

[ H9] 



Old Concord 

ing improved the machine for grinding the lead, and 
after learning to make a perfect pencil, he gave up 
the work, — it could teach him nothing more. In 
the attic of the house he kept his collections of eggs, 
flowers, and Indian relics, and here he did his writ- 
ing. The house was smaller then, for Alcott had 
not added his study ; the interior has since been 
much changed. But in this house Thoreau felt the 
strong culminating passion of his life. 
\. As the slavery question pressed more and more 
upon the country, Thoreau felt it as deeply affect- 
ing him. John Brown came to Concord, and the 
naturalist was impassioned for his cause. The two 
had a long talk together, in the Main Street house. 
Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry and his imprison- 
ment drew from Thoreau the strong "Plea for Cap- 
tain John Brown" which he repeated at many 
places. Never did Thoreau come more out of him- 
self than at this time. His critics had reproached 
him with coldness and aloofness, but now he showed 
himself entirely human. 

It was the last great chapter of the experience with 
life which he had so ardently desired. Exposure in 
the woods brought on a serious illness, from which 
even his vigorous frame never recovered. Con- 
sumption slowly wasted him away. His dying was 

[ISO] 



Chiefly Literary 

like some of the heroic endurances of his outdoor 
life, and he studied it in the same way. He was 
cheerful, he bore sleeplessness well, and he vividly 
described the dreams that came in his fitful repose. 
When he could no longer climb the stairs, he had his 
bed brought down to the parlor that looked upon 
the street, in order to see the passers-by. His 
famous friends came to see him ; and when in their 
awe of the sick man the children did not come, he 
asked for them. "I love them as if they were my 
own." So they, as well as his older friends, made 
his sick bed pleasant. In his last letter he wrote, 
"I am enjoying existence as much as ever, and re- 
gret nothing." In May, 1862, very peacefully he 
died. 

Beyond this Main Street house (where cling those 
sadder memories of Thoreau which can be associated 
with his indoor life) on Elm Street, and bordering the 
river, stands the picturesque residence of Frank 
B. Sanborn, a younger contemporary of Concord's 
great men. Coming to Concord in 1855, at the re- 
quest of Emerson and several other citizens who 
desired a superior school for their children, he 
taught here for eight years, and has resided here for 
most of the remaining time. He was a leader in the 
joyous dramatics in which the Alcott sisters and his 

[ 151 ] 



Old Concord 

own scholars took such happy part. He was well 
acquainted with the notable men, accounts of whom 
he has passed on to us. In the days when to be an 
abolitionist had its dangers, Mr. Sanborn became 
prominent as the friend of John Brown. Brown 
twice visited him in Concord, once in a house owned 
by Channing, then standing opposite Thoreau's, and 
once in the house directly behind the Thoreau house, 
which during recent years has been occupied as a 
girls' school. Mr. Sanborn was one of those north- 
ern men who were aware that Brown was preparing 
some movement for the freeing of the slaves, and 
who were providing him with money. 

As a consequence, after the Harper's Ferry raid 
occurred that incident in Concord of which the 
newspapers of the day were very full, — Mr. San- 
born's attempted abduction. Officers sent by the 
Sergeant-at-arms of the United States Senate sur- 
prised him in his house at night, showed a war- 
rant, and tried to force him into a carriage. Though 
handcuffed, he resisted stoutly, and his sister's calls 
brought help. The neighbors prevented the success 
of the attempt ; and Judge Hoar, hearing the noise 
and guessing its cause, had already started to fill 
out a writ of habeas corpus before a summons came 
for him to do so. The sheriff presented the writ to 

[152] 




The Sanborn House from the River 



Chiefly Literary 

the officers, who, after the rough handling they had 
had, were glad to give up their prisoner. Legal 
means prevented the repetition of the event. 

Mr. Sanborn was for years in the employ of the 
State of Massachusetts ; he has long been associated 
with the Springfield Republican as editor and cor- 
respondent ; he has edited the works of others, and 
has published his own poems and writings. During 
the life of the School of Philosophy, he was its secre- 
tary, and was also a lecturer in it. That shy genius, 
Ellery Channing, spent the last years of his life in 
Mr. Sanborn's home. The building Mr. Sanborn 
erected for himself ; with its dark front and tangled 
shrubbery it seems as withdrawn as Hawthorne's 
own. From the "three-arched stone bridge" that 
stands close by, the stepped brick end of the tall 
house seems to stand somberly above the quiet 
river. "The last of the Concord School," as Mr. 
Sanborn is often called, is easily recognized in Con- 
cord streets by his tall, stooping figure, his white 
locks, and his rapid stride. 

The limits of this survey of Concord allow no room 
for other houses, whether of local or more general 
interest. Neither is it here possible to do much 
more than to indicate the charm of the old streets. 
Concord was not planned : it grew, and its roads 

[155] 



Old Concord 

seldom run straight for more than a little distance. 
The half-mile of Main Street beginning at the 
Library gives almost the longest vista uninterrupted 
by rise or turn ; under its arching trees the wide 
road is, winter or summer, very beautiful. Else- 
where the roads meander gently, following the 
slight contours of the ground ; they are generously 
broad, comfortably shaded. In spite of the fact 
that Concord's site was chosen because of its 
meadows, it is only in the center of the town that 
there is any uniformity of level. The undulations 
of the roads, therefore, add another charm. Be- 
sides the elms that line them, the streets are edged 
by the shrubberies and hedges of residences that 
show the simple variations of colonial architecture. 
Outside the town the meadows, cultivated fields, 
and woods, always with glimpses of gently rising 
hills, give varied views. If in America there is 
anything that speaks simply and feelingly of the 
older times, it is a New England town. Concord, 

— dignified, picturesque, homelike, and still vital, 

— is notable among its kind. 



[156] 



The Burying Grounds 



?&&$ 




IV 

IN any town as old as Concord, the graves natu- 
rally attract attention, from the interest either 
in stones recording famous names, or in the me- 
morials of forgotten dead whose epitaphs are odd 
or quaint. Concord's two older cemeteries, on 
Main Street and on the hill, have abundant interest 
of the latter kind. 

These two enclosures traditionally contend for 
priority ; but since the earlier graves for many 
years had no stones at all, this matter cannot be 
settled except by the conjecture that the earlier 
burials took place upon the hill, near the original 
church. Both of these cemeteries contain stones 
of the seventeenth century, bearing the names of 
old Concord families. 

In those early days, and for a long time afterward, 
people were more given to epitaphs than we are now. 

[159] 



Old Concord 

The virtues of the departed were impressed upon the 
reader, sometimes with an incongruity that provokes 
a smile. Mr. Job Brooks, who died at ninety-one, 
was cautiously "considered by survivors as having 
come to the grave in a full age." His wife "lived 
with her said husband upward of sixty-five years, 
and died in the hope of a resurrection to a better 
life." Tilly Merrick "had an excellent art in family 
government." The pompous epitaph is excellently 
displayed on the tombstone of James Minot, "Esq. 
A. M.," for here it is stated that he was "An excell- 
ing grammarian ; enriched with the gift of prayer 
and preaching; a commanding officer; a physician 
of great value ; a great lover of peace as well as of 
justice ; and which was his greatest glory, a gent'n 
of distinguished virtue and goodness, happy in a 
virtuous posterity; and, living religiously, died 
comfortably, September 20, 1735, aged 83." 

Yet on the other hand there are here inscriptions 
which by their simple recital of manly traits bear 
conviction with them. Such is the case with the 
epitaph of the son of the foregoing, Timothy Minot, 
schoolmaster and licensed preacher. "He was a 
preacher of the gospel whose praise was in all the 
churches : a school-master in Concord for many 
years : his actions were governed by the dictates of 

[160] 



The Burying Grounds 

his conscience; he was a lover of peace; given to 
hospitality ; a lover of good men ; sober, just, tem- 
perate ; a faithful friend, a good neighbour, an ex- 
cellent husband, a tender, affectionate parent, and a 
good master." 

Besides these claims to virtue, the old stones 
frequently bear moral sentiments or serious reflec- 
tions, always best in the form of quotations from 
the Bible. But our ancestors felt also the attrac- 
tiveness of poetry, and in Concord cemeteries we 
have many examples of the species of sacred dog- 
gerel which was almost stereotyped for generations, 
but of which there are amusing variations. Thus 
little Charlotty Ball says : 

"My dady and my mamy dears, dry up your tears, 
Here I must lie till Christ appears." 

and Archibald Smith, a Baptist, takes occasion to 
suggest his "persuasion" in the verse : 

"The just shall, from their mouldering dust, 
Ascend the mansions of the blest, 
Where Paul and Silas and John the Baptist 
And all the saints forever rest." 

In interest the Hill Burying-ground surpasses the 
cemetery on Main Street. It has first the advan- 
tage that here are buried men of more importance 
in the town. Here lie those early pastors of Con- 

[161] 



Old Concord 

cord, Daniel Bliss, William Emerson, and Ezra 
Ripley; here are the graves of some of the town's 
benefactors, John Beaton, Doctor Cuming, and 
Hugh Cargill ; and here also are buried those two 
heroes of the Fight, Barrett who gave the order to 
attack the British, and Buttrick who executed it. 
But apart from this, the little cemetery has the 
advantage of picturesqueness. As one climbs to the 
summit of the ridge, the stony path, the tall slender 
trees, the ordered stones, all pointing upward, make 
a symbolic composition not readily forgotten. Or 
from the top, looking downward, one sees first the 
quaint table-tombs of the old worthies, the rows of 
graves, and then through the trees, — best shown 
when these are leafless, — reminders of the living 
world : the Square and Milldam with their groups 
of people, the First Parish Meeting-house, and St. 
Bernard's Church. Thus very near to life, yet 
with the peace of the other world, the old cemetery 
lures with its contrasts. 

But one stone, humbly set apart, brings more 
visitors to this spot than do its other interests or 
beauties. It marks the grave of a man insignificant 
in his life, and remembered only for an epitaph 
which has been more widely quoted and translated 
than has any other of Concord's literary works 

[ 162 ] 



The Burying Grounds 

except the writings of Emerson. It was penned by 
Emerson's great-uncle, Daniel Bliss the Tory. 

In the days when the struggle of the Revolution 
was drawing near, and when Bliss saw his hopes of 
his future vanishing away in the new doctrines of 
liberty, there died in Concord a negro who had but 
recently been a slave. With a cynicism showing no 
tenderness for the man, Bliss made him immortal 
by an epitaph. It contained a satire on the times, 
on freedom, on human nature itself. People study 
it to-day for its clear antithesis and cutting phrases ; 
but we may remember too that it throws a light 
upon one feature of our country's history, also that 
it reflects the bitter feeling of a disappointed man. 

God wills us free, man wills us slaves. 
I will as God wills, God's will be done. 
Here lies the body of 
John Jack 
A native of Africa who died 
March 1773, aged about sixty years. 
Tho' born in a land of slavery 
He was born free. 
Tho' he lived in a land of liberty 
He lived a slave. 

Till by his honest, tho' stolen labors, 
He acquired the source of slavery, 
Which gave him his freedom, 
Tho' not long before 
Death the grand tyrant, 

[163] 



Old Concord 

Gave him his final emancipation, 
And set him on a footing with kings. 
Tho' a slave to vice 
He practised those virtues 
Without which kings are but slaves. 

The grave of John Jack lies over the top of the 
lower part of the ridge, and can be found by follow- 
ing the worn track which branches where the main 
path turns to climb to the summit. It has always 
been an object of interest ; the early weather-worn 
stone was replaced ; and in antislavery days the 
grave was tended, as if it were a symbol of the for- 
tunes of the down-trodden race, by Miss Mary 
Rice, whose house stands not far from the rear of 
the cemetery. It was this spinster who planted 
the lilies which yearly, by their blossoms, recall not 
only the slave, but also the devoted lady and the 
cause for which she worked. 

Concord's most famous cemetery is Sleepy Hol- 
low. From the Square it is reached by Bedford 
Street, going past, or through, an older burying- 
ground. Beyond this for many years the hollow 
lay in natural beauty, its amphitheater a farmer's 
field, its steep surrounding ridges wooded. The 
name of Sleepy Hollow was early given it ; nature- 
lovers took pleasure in it, and it was a favorite re- 

[164] 



The Burying Grounds 

sort of Concord writers. In especial, Hawthorne 
was fond of it. "I sat down to-day," he wrote 
during his stay at the Manse, "... in Sleepy 
Hollow. . . . The present season, a thriving field 
of Indian corn, now in its most perfect growth, and 
tasseled out, occupies nearly half the hollow ; and 
it is like the lap of bounteous nature, filled with 
breadstuff." He writes elsewhere of meeting there 
Margaret Fuller and Emerson. And he and his 
wife looked forward fondly to a time when they 
might build themselves a "castle" on the steepest 
ridge. He lies there buried now, on the very spot. 

In 1855 the Hollow and adjoining land were taken 
for a cemetery. Wisely, the laying out was very 
simple. At the formal dedication, Emerson made 
an address, Channing read a dedicatory poem, and 
an ode by Frank B. Sanborn was sung — truly 
prophetic in its lines : 

"These waving woods, these valleys low, 
Between these tufted knolls, 
Year after year shall dearer grow, 
To many loving souls." 

Its half century of age and clustering associations 
have made Sleepy Hollow celebrated throughout 
America. 
Whether one approaches through the older ceme- 

[165] 



Old Concord 

tery or direct from Bedford Street, the entrance to 
the Hollow is peculiarly pleasing. Two ridges face 
each other like a gateway, guarding a little rise of 
the road ; from a little distance one notices between 
them a line of treetops ; then almost abruptly the 
Hollow opens to the view, — right, left, and beneath. 
The steep nearer bank at first conceals the level of 
the amphitheater, which lies in a long, irregular oval, 
in full sun. Peaceful it is as when, many years ago, 
the name was given it ; the curving lines of graves 
do but mark its quietude as permanent, and em- 
phasize the appropriateness of its name. The two 
protecting ridges sweep around it from both sides ; 
their tall trees enhance the seclusion. Their lines 
lead the wandering eye finally to a closer attention of 
what at first sight the visitor considers merely as the 
attractive completion of the enclosing hills, — the op- 
posite ridge, which rises finely from its screen of hem- 
locks at the bottom to the tops of its crowning pines. 
But then one sees that the ridge is thickly marked 
with graves. The broken hemlock cover reveals 
their stones ; they show above it through the boles 
of the taller trees. An indented line of stones 
stands along the crest of the hill, marking that 
Ridge Path to which, after his first long study is 
satisfied, the visitor turns his steps. 

[166] 




^%;'v# 



Hawthorne's Grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery 



The Burying Grounds 

The road to the left is Hawthorne's cart-track. 
From it one looks along the solemn Hollow, or back 
at the dark tomb in the entrance ridge. It was by 
this road that Hawthorne sat, to listen to the birds 
in the trees above, or in imagination to build his 
castle on the hill that steeply rose in front. 

As one climbs the path from the Hollow, Haw- 
thorne's grave is the first to be seen at the crest. It 
lies in a retirement like his own through life, within 
a cedar hedge. Below, through the trees, the Hol- 
low shows distant and withdrawn : it was thus in 
life that he viewed the world, and thus his spirit 
could view it still. Across the path are to be seen, 
on the very edge of the descent, the several graves 
of the Thoreau family, their names and dates of 
birth and death upon one common stone, with small 
headstones to mark the resting-places of Henry and 
his less famous relatives. Near by are the stones 
of the Alcotts, those of the parents and three younger 
daughters side by side, and of the elder sister and her 
husband, John Pratt, in an adjoining lot. Here, 
then, in a space of but a few square rods, lie at rest 
these three families of friends and neighbors, as- 
sociated in death as in life. 

Further along Ridge Path is the grave of Emerson. 
Under tall pines it is marked by a great fragment of 

[169 J 



Old Concord 

rose quartz, on whose face is a modest bronze tablet 
with his own couplet, 

"The passive master lent his hand 
To the vast Soul which o'er him planned." 

Within the plot where the body of the master lies 
are grouped the gravestones of his family : his 
mother and his famous aunt, his "hyacinthine boy" 
who died in childhood, and the daughter who tended 
his old age. And studying these, one sees here re- 
vived the ancient custom of inscribing epitaphs. 
Their stately phrases establish the worth of lives of 
simple dignity and usefulness ; one cannot but pon- 
der on them. 

Read some of these striking words. Of Emerson's 
mother: "Her grand-children who learned their 
letters at her knee remember her as a serene and 
serious presence, her sons regarded her with entire 
love and reverence, and in the generation to which 
she belonged it was said of her that she resembled 
a vessel laid up unto the Lord, of polished gold 
without and full of heavenly manna within." Of 
his aunt: "She gave high counsels — it was the 
privilege of certain boys to have this immeasurably 
high standard indicated to their childhood, a bless- 
ing which nothing else in education could supply." 

[ 170] 



The Burying Grounds 

Of his wife: "The love and care for her husband 
and children was her first earthly interest, but with 
overflowing compassion her heart went out to the 
slave, the sick, and the dumb creation. She re- 
membered them that were in bonds as bound with 
them." And of the daughter still so affectionately- 
remembered in Concord : " She loved her Town. 
She lived the simple and hardy life of old New 
England, but exercised a wide and joyful hospitality, 
and she eagerly helped others. Of a fine mind, she 
cared more for persons than books, and her faith 
drew out the best in those around her." 

This striking group of memorial stones, of him 
who needs no epitaph and of those whose lives were 
worthy of such praise, is scarcely to be equaled any- 
where in America. It makes evident what is often 
forgotten, — the human relationships of the great 
philosopher. And this noble family becomes a lofty 
type of what is best in our American homes of 
simple tastes, quiet lives, and high ideals. 

Another Concord family, the Hoars, buried close 
by at the foot of the ridge, is remarkable for its 
record of public service. Their graves lie clustered 
about the massive monument of Samuel Hoar, who 
during his early life was the acknowledged leader of 
the Middlesex Bar. In his later years, after serving 

[I7i] 



Old Concord 

a term in Congress, he gave himself up to political 
and philanthropic services. His best remembered 
act was his journey to Charleston, South Carolina, 
in 1844, to protest in the name of Massachusetts 
against regulations affecting free colored seamen. 
In the public excitement thus occasioned, his life 
was in danger, but he bore himself with calm cour- 
age and wise judgment. Around him lie buried his 
daughter Elizabeth, the friend of Emerson and 
many notable people, a woman whose intellect and 
character were perhaps as fine as any that Concord 
has produced ; his son George Frisbie, for many 
years United States Senator from Massachusetts ; 
and also his son Ebenezer Rockwood, best known as 
Judge Hoar, a member of Grant's cabinet, and 
famous for his public spirit, legal wisdom, and 
flashing wit. And here once more are modern 
epitaphs worth study. Other members of this 
family, who continued its record of ability and 
public service, lie buried elsewhere in the cemetery. 
Concord remembers that these men, besides being 
of national importance, were devoted to its local 
needs. It is families such as these that have made 
our American institutions what they are, and have 
maintained the highest ideals of public service. 
The gravestone of Ephraim Wales Bull, the orig- 

[ 172] 








The Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery 



The Burying Grounds 

inator of the Concord grape, is not far from this 
enclosure of the Hoars. 

Apart from the interest in Sleepy Hollow which 
arises from its famous graves, there is another, its 
beauty. Its natural advantages have been made 
the most of in its roads and paths ; they have even 
been gradually improved. There are handsome 
monuments in the cemetery. Unquestionably the 
finest is the Melvin memorial, sculptured by Daniel 
C. French, erected to commemorate four Concord 
brothers, all soldiers in the Civil War. 

To see Sleepy Hollow most intimately one should 
go when it is undisturbed by human voice. When 
the early sun casts long shadows, when the dusk is 
stealing on, when the unbroken expanse of snow 
lies level above the graves — these are the times when 
the silence of the place is vocal to the thoughtful ear. 

Yet if one would see the cemetery at its most 
impressive, let him go on Decoration Day, when 
the place is thronged, when the cannon boom their 
minute guns, and when the veterans of two wars, 
with flags and melancholy bugles, come with wreaths 
of flowers to pay tribute to the comrades that have 
gone before. 



[175] 



Envoi 



r. i! 







ENVOI 

IT may sometimes seem, to those inclined to 
criticize, that Concord has been unduly favored, 
or that being so, it has plumed itself too greatly 
on advantages that now are past. It is of course 
unique to have so many memorials in one small 
area. The battle-field, the houses of literary in- 
terest, Walden with its unusual story, and the 
famous graves, — it would be indeed remarkable 
if any town should not boast itself of these. But 
Concord is not living on its past ; it has its present 
interests, and is attending to them. The tide of 
tourists little disturbs the business of its streets. 
And Concord feels as others do who look back to 
achievements separated from the present by such 
wide intervals. They are no longer local. Time 
has made them common property. 
One studying the earlier generations finds good 

[179] 



Old Concord 

material in Concord, that is all. The hardships and 
the courage of the founders have left here pathetic 
and inspiring reminders. The deeds of our ances- 
tors who freed us have their memorial here. Here 
too those great in thought and literary art have 
carved their message deep. And there is more. 
The voiceless generations have left their footprints 
in this place, so that from the earliest times till now 
the student can trace their progress in all ways that 
affect human comfort and happiness. Here we 
have, then, compressed, condensed, those typical 
events which make the life of that essential factor 
in the progress of the New World, an American 
town. 

The present is (and speaking generally the pres- 
ent always will be) crowded with critical problems 
pressing to be solved. We never shall find safer 
guidance for their solution than in a study of the 
past. In Concord, among so many noble memo- 
ries, earnest lovers of America will find inspiration 
for the duties and decisions of to-day. 



[180] 



Index 



INDEX 



Academy, 143. 
Academy Lane, 141, 143. 
Acton, 32. 

Adams, Samuel, 44, 61. 
"Alarm company ", The, 45, 46. 
Alcott, Abba May (Mrs. Alcott), 
117, 118, 121, 122. 
Amos Bronson, 4, 11, 112, 
114, us, H7> "8, 127, 
130, 136, 145, 146. 
Anna, 119. 

Elizabeth, 80, 119, 123. 
Louisa May, 107, 117, 119, 
120, 121, 122, 123, 127, 128, 
129, 130. 
May, 119. 
The Alcott Family, 1 12-13 1. 
Alcott Houses : "Cottage", 86, 
89, 114, 115, "7> 
"Orchard House", 83, 84, 

123, 124. 
"Thoreau- Alcott", 86, 87. 
Antiquarian Society, I, 108, 109. 
Assabet River, 101, 102. 

Bank Robbery, 15. 
Barrett, Amos, 49, 63, 68. 

James, Colonel, 54, 55, 60, 162. 

Mrs. James, 55, 56. 
Bartlett, Doctor, 14. 
Bedford Street, 4, 16, 80. 
Bigelow, Edwin, 12. 
Bigelow's Tavern, 9, 51. 
Black Horse Church, 40. 
Bliss, Daniel, the minister, 38, 162. 

Daniel, the Tory, 38, 39, 40, 43, 
44, 54, 60, 73, 163. 

Phebe, 38. 
Block House, 86. 



Brister's Hill, 84, 85. 

British soldiers, Grave of, 74, 75. 

British spies, 43, 54. 

Brown, John, 13, 150, 152. 

Bulkeley, Rev. Peter, 29, 30, 31, 

32> 33- 
Bull, Ephraim W., 138-140, 172- 

.173- 
Buttrick, David, 13, 14. 
Humphrey, 13. 

John, Major, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 
164. 

Catholic Church, 4, 6, 80, 162. 

Channing, William Ellery, the 

poet, 11, 99, 100, 101, 146, 

. . l6 s- . 

Christian Science Church, 4, 6. 
Colonial Inn, 1, 23. 
Concord, before the settlement, 
25, 26. 
description of, 37-38, 79-89, 

155-156. 
To-day, 179, 180. 
Fight, see Chapter 2. 
Why at Concord, 42-43 ; 
Revere's warning, 44; the 
muster, 46 ; coming of the 
British, 49; their slight 
success, 50-52 ; Pitcairn 
and his boast, 53-54; the 
Bridge, 55; the American 
advance, 61-62; the skir- 
mish, 62-63 ! the British 
retreat, 64-65, 68. 
Grape, 84, 139-140, 175. 
River, 100, 101. 
settlement of, 26-3 1 . 
"Constitution", frigate, 19. 



[183] 



Index 



"County House", 4, 6. 

Court House, 4, 9, 45, 79; in 

1800, 15; in 1700, 25. 
Curtis, George William, 145. 

D. A. R. Chapter House, 81, 83. 
Davis, Isaac, of Acton, 61, 62, 63. 
Deerfield, 25. 

Egg Rock, ioi. 
Eliot, John, 32. 

Emerson, Mary Moody, 59, 170. 
Ralph Waldo, 9, 10, 12, 91, 93, 
97, 98, 105-114, 117, 145, 
165, 169, 170, 171. 



Hill Burying-ground, 4, 157, 159, 

161-164. 
"Hillside", ^"Wayside." 
Hoar, John, 49. 

E. R. (Judge Hoar), 142. 
George F. (Senator Hoar), 

172. 
Samuel, 22, 171, 172. 
Family houses, 86. 
graves, 171-172. 
Hosmer, Joseph, 39, 40, 60, 61, 72. 
Howells, Wm. D., 106, 136. 

Indians in Concord, 26-28, 31, 
32, 101, 102. 



William, 9, 10, 46, 49, SO, 59. J ACK; j OHN , GRAVE OF , 163-164. 



63, 72, 89, 162 
Waldo, ill, 170. 
Epitaphs, 170-171. 
House, 9, 77, 83, 105, 106, 143. 
The study, 107, 108, 109. 
Epitaphs, 160, 161, 163, 170, 171, 
172. 

"Fairyland", 85. 

Felton, Septimius, 49, 65, 66, 67, 

135- 
Fire engine, in 1800, 16. 
French, Daniel Chester, 74, 175. 
Fruitlands, 117. 
Fuller, Margaret, 117, 118, 165. 

Gage, Gen. Thomas, 41. 
Grapevine Cottage, 84, 138, 140. 
Great Meadows, 26, 49, 84. 
Green store, 6. 

Hancock, John, 44. 

Harvard College in Concord, 72. Main Street Burying-ground, 51, 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 10, 49, 65, 86, 159. 

84, 92, 93-105, 131-138, Manse, The Old, 11, 50, 59, 63, 
145, 165, 167, 169. 80, 89-105. 

Hemlocks, The, 101, 103. Masonic Lodge (old school house), 

Hey wood house, 83. 4, 6, 143. 

[184] 



Jail, 6, 16. 
Jail Tavern, 16. 
Jarvis, Dr., 5. 
Jones, Elisha, 59, 63, 64. 
house, the, 57, 59, 63, 70. 
John, 29. 

Laurie, Captain, 56, 57, 60, 62. 
Lee, Joseph, the Tory, 19, 40, 41, 

73- 
Lee's Hill, 19. 
Lexington Road, 4, 9, 11, 37, 44, 

49, 65, 80, 83, 105, 140. 
Library, in 1800, 19. 
Life in Concord in 1850, 12-15. 

in 1800, 18-22. 

in 1750, 22-24. 

in 1700, 25. 
Lowell, J. R., 74. 
Lowell Road, 79. 

Main Street, ii, 37, 86, 87, 156. 



Indt 



ex 



Meeting House, First Parish, see 

Unitarian Church. 
Meriam's Corner, 49, 68, 84, 140, 

frontispiece. 
Middlesex Grounds, 4, 5, 16. 

Hotel, 5, 16. 
Mill, 16, 51. 
Milldam, The, 4, 16, 31, 37, 43, 

84, 162. 
Mill pond, 16, 38, 50. 
Minuteman Statue, 59, 69, 71, 74. 
Minutemen, 43, 46, 49, 72. 
Monument of 1836, 69, 73, 91. 
Monument Street, 37, 79, 80. 
Moore house, 83. 
"Mosses from an Old Manse," 

102. 
Moulton, Martha, 52. 

Nashawtuc Hill, 40. 
Nashoba, 32. 

North Bridge, 37, 50, 53, 54, 56, 
62, 63, 72, 73, 74, 90, 175. 

Old Elm on the Square, 16, 17. 

Parsons, Captain, 55, 56, 64. 

Percy, Lord, 71. 

Pierce, Franklin, 102, 132, 136, 

137- 
Pitcairn, Major, 4, 52, 53, 54, 68. 
Philip's War, 25. 
Powder Alarm, 41. 
Preparedness for war, 71, 72. 
Provincial Congress, 42. 
Public Library, 86, 156. 
Punkatasset Hill, 50, 59. 

Railway in Concord, 5. 
Revere, Paul, 44, 45. 
Rice, Mary, 12, 164. 
Ridge Path, 166, 169, 173. 
Ripley, Rev. Ezra, 10, 89-93, l & 2 - 
Roads, 15, 155, 156. 



Robinson, Lt. Col., of Westford 
62. 

Samplers, 21. 

Sanborn, Frank B., 13, 86, 151, 

152, 153, 155, 165. 
School of Philosophy, 129, 155. 
Shadrach, 12. 
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, 80, 138, 

164-175. 
Smith, Lt. Col., 50, S3, 54. 64, 65, 

68. 
Social Circle Memoirs, 14. 
Soldiers' Monument, 3, 6. 
South Bridge, 37, 64, 86. 
Square, The, at present, 3-4; in 

1850, 5-9; in 1800, 15-16; 

— 32, 37, 46, 50, 51, 52, 

54. 79. 143. 162. 
Stage-coaches, 5. 
Staples, "Sam", 113, 121. 
Sudbury River, 101. 
Sudbury Road, 86. 
Sunday traveling, 21. 

Tahattawan, 26. 
Temperance movement, 14, 15. 
Thoreau, The Thoreau aunts, 5. 
Henry David, 6, 10, 11, 12, 

85. 98» 99. m> "2. 136, 
142-151; at Walden, 144- 
149; in jail, 148-149; in- 
terest in slavery, 150, 151 ; 
169. 
John, 10. 

John, Jr., 112, 143. 
Cabin, 85, 145-146. 
Cairn, 85. 
Cove, 85. 
House, on Square, 6. 

on Main St., 86, 87, 149, 150, 
151. 
Three-arch stone bridge, 155. 
Transcendentalists, 12, 109. 



[185] 



Index 



Town Hall, 4, 9, 16, 25, 37, 51, 

52, 80. 
Town Pump, 16. 
Two Brothers' Rock, 32. 

Underground Railway in Con- 
cord, 12, 13, 146. 

Unitarian Church, 4, 7, 9, 16, 19, 
25> 39» 42. 80, 162. 

Walden Pond, 10, 12, 144, 145- 
149, 175. 



"Walden Pond Association ", 85. 
Walden Street, 38, 84. 
Warming pan, 21. 
Warren, Joseph, 44. 
"Wayside", 84, 117, 124, 13 1, 

132. 133, i35> 138- 
Willard, Simon, 27, 33, 40. 
White, Deacon, 21, 22, 23. 
Wood, Ephraim, 41, 72. 
Wright, Amos, 52, 53. 
Wright Tavern, 4, 5-6, 16, 37, 

38, 46, 47, 80. 



[186] 



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